Floods 1) Money is no object, promises Cameron as more rain sweeps in

Flood‘David Cameron has promised “any aid necessary” to deal with the flooding crisis gripping the south of England, cancelling a trip to the Middle East to get a grip of the crisis enveloping the government. The prime minister said he would step up the military response to the emergency with 1,600 extra service personnel heading to waterlogged regions.’ – FT


Floods 2) Political “flood tourists” in the firing line

‘David Cameron’s tour of the South West was dismissed as an attempt to use flooded residents as ‘extras’ in self-promotional footage while his Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was berated on live TV by an exhausted flood warden in Berkshire. Labour’s Ed Miliband blundered from a stand-up row in Purley with a local MP who demanded to know what he was doing there to suffering the indignity of freezing flood water sloshing over his remarkably new-looking Dunlop wellington boots. As the unseemly scramble for publicity also included Ukip’s Nigel Farage and Lib Dem Nick Clegg, one local newspaper in the stricken South West accused politicians of using flood-hit families to ‘inflate their own egos’.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: Ed Miliband ambushed by Alok Sharma

No sterling for an independent Scotland

SALMOND on Marr ‘Scotland will not be allowed to share the pound with the rest of the UK if it chooses independence, the three main Westminster parties are to warn as pro-unionists turn up the pressure ahead of the September vote. George Osborne, the chancellor, Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Treasury chief secretary, and Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor, will all deliver separate warnings that Scotland should not expect to form a currency union with the UK.’ – FT

  • Matthew Parris takes a flutter on the referendum – The Times (£)
  • Clegg denies Alexander has gone native – The Times (£)
  • Let’s all make up and be friendly, peers tell coalition parties – The Times (£)

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: ‘Impartial’ youth vote campaigner in fact an extreme separatist

Police Federation hijacked the Mitchell affair for political ends

‘The Police Federation hijacked the Plebgate affair for its own political ends and betrayed the officers who were on duty at the Downing Street gates, a key witness to the incident told The Times. Ian Richardson, one of the four officers on duty as the former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, demanded to cycle through the gates, spoke for the first time about the confrontation which has shaken public confidence in policing.’ – The Times (£)

Carney to rule out rate rise

GROWTH Krieg‘Britain’s economy is still too weak for the Bank of England to risk any interest rate rise in the near future, its Governor Mark Carney has warned. Mr Carney is to present the Bank’s latest growth, inflation and unemployment forecasts, but will stress that the economy will not withstand a rate increase, which would trigger a rise in mortgage repayments for millions of borrowers.’ – Daily Telegraph

Fresh attack on spare room subsidy cuts

‘Two-thirds of households in England affected by the bedroom tax have fallen into rent arrears since the policy was introduced in April, while one in seven families have received eviction risk letters and face losing their homes, a survey claims. The National Housing Federation (NHF) said its survey demonstrated that the bedroom tax was “heaping misery and hardship” on already struggling families ‘ – The Guardian

Transatlantic snub: Obama refuses to say if Britain or France is his closest ally

US flag”’I have two daughters,’ the president said, referring to Sasha and Malia. ‘And they are both gorgeous and wonderful, and I would never choose between them. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways.” – Daily Mail

Tube strike called off, but has Boris caved in?

‘A crippling two-day Tube strike was called off at the eleventh hour yesterday after London Mayor Boris Johnson caved in to demands from militant union chief Bob Crow. A jubilant Mr Crow said victory was down to the ‘support and solidarity’ of union members and told them: ‘You are instructed to work normally.’  Rail unions had voted to stage a second 48-hour strike from 9pm last night in the dispute over the Mayor’s plans to close all 260 Tube ticket offices and axe 950 jobs – though without any compulsory redundancies.’ – Daily Mail


Ex-Chair of BBC Governors admits the Licence Fee is “a bad tax”

‘Two former BBC executives slammed the licence fee today, with one admitting ‘it is a bad tax.’ Gavyn Davies, former chairman of the BBC board of governors, was giving evidence at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee when he delivered the damning verdict. He said: ‘There is no doubt the licence fee is a bad tax if you were designing a tax.’ – Daily Mail

Should school children be taught about Female Genital Mutilation?

‘Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a barbaric and vile practice. Typically carried out on girls of primary school age, it involves the partial or complete removal of the external genitalia; in the most extreme cases the entire area is sewn up…It is, to put it mildly, a monstrous practice that is inflicted upon around 125 million girls and women in Africa and the Middle East. And, of course, it should be eradicated.  But it is also a cultural and religious issue that in Britain affects only very clearly defined ethnic minority groups.  So why introduce this nightmare concept to every child in the country by teaching about it in schools?’ – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail


Ashcroft urges more support for veterans

‘Britain needs to do more to help veterans who struggle to return to civilian life, find it hard to secure work and risk ending up homeless, in prison or killing themselves, according to a top-level government review. The 186-page report by the prime minister’s special representative on veterans’ affairs, Lord Ashcroft, found that those leaving the services after a relatively short time – four years – found it hardest to cope.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: We must fulfil our obligations to veterans when they leave the Armed Forces

NHS data hack is “inevitable”

‘Relationships could be destroyed, jobs lost and careers ended when a huge new NHS database is ‘inevitably’ hacked, an MP claimed last night. Labour’s George Mudie told Parliament that the controversial data-sharing scheme must be postponed to allow the public to be properly consulted.’ – Daily Mail

How will the EU react to the Swiss referendum?

EU FLag‘The Swiss decided on Sunday to introduce quotas for migrants from the European Union. This abandons a long-standing Swiss agreement with Brussels to guarantee free movement of labour across its borders — and has now triggered feverish discussion even in normally unflappable Germany. How far can European rules be redrawn to take the national will into account? How intertwined are all the conditions for access to the single market? How much pick-and-mix policy is acceptable when renegotiating from outside or within the European Union?’ – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)

>Sunday: International: Switzerland votes to end free movement of people from the EU

News in brief

  • Bundles of criminal charges are dangerous – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)
  • Family attack widow’s decision to leave money to the Conservatives – Daily Mail
  • 11-month-old baby mauled to death by dog – The Times (£)
  • Tony Benn ‘seriously ill’ in hospital – Daily Mail
  • High Court brings Litvinenko inquiry a step closer – FT
  • Hollywood stars want the Elgin Marbles returned – Daily Telegraph

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