520,000 EU immigrants expect over the next four years

Border‘Immigration from the EU will add the equivalent of a city as big as Manchester to the UK’s population every four years, a report warns today. The study predicts net migration from inside Europe will be 130,000 every year if current trends continue. This total includes 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians and 40,000 from Poland and the seven other Eastern European nations which joined the EU in 2004.’ – Daily Mail

After 13 years, the Army hands over Helmand

‘With a handshake and a smile, Britain’s leading combat role in Afghanistan ended yesterday. The headquarters of Task Force Helmand ceased operations after 13 years of bloody fighting and the loss of nearly 450 lives. Five thousand UK troops will remain in the war zone – but only until December and under US command.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Tom Tugendhat on Comment: The NATO allies must increase their defence spending – before it’s too late

Cable refuses to apologise for Royal Mail privatisation price

CABLE Marr purple shirt‘A defiant Vince Cable told MPs today that “the last thing I intend to do is apologise” for the privatisation of Royal Mail, after a watchdog heavily criticised the sell off. In a statement to the House of Commons Dr Cable, the Business Secretary, said that there was still “a great deal of froth” around the Royal Mail share price, which soared nearly 40 per cent on the first day of trading.’ – The Times (£)

Tory manifesto could feature ban on onshore wind farms

‘David Cameron wants to go into the next election pledging to “rid” the countryside of onshore wind farms, a source close to the Prime Minister has said. Mr Cameron wants to toughen planning laws and tear up subsidy rules to make current turbines financially unviable – allowing the Government to “eradicate” turbines, the source said. The move will delight campaigners in traditional Conservative countryside seats and comes amid a growing Coalition row over whether to try and cap the number of wind farms.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Clegg will block it in any coalition deal – The Guardian
  • Tim Farron to attack so-called ‘bedroom tax’ – The Guardian
  • Is Maria Miller getting an easy ride from the Prime Minister? – Daily Telegraph

MPs want climate change sceptics to “shut up”

BBC‘Ministers who question the majority view among scientists about climate change should “shut up” and instead repeat the Government line on the issue, according to MPs. The BBC should also give less airtime to climate sceptics and its editors should seek special clearance to interview them, according to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. ‘ – The Times (£)

  • Fracking is a practical solution to climate change – The Times Leader (£)
  • Plans to reform trespass laws to free up shale gas – Daily Mail

Cameron: I’m proud to take people out of income tax

‘The Prime Minister will issue a defiant message to Tory MPs who have been calling for more help for higher-rate taxpayers, as he embarks on a tour of the UK to talk up the economy…He said: ‘A key part of this Government’s long-term economic plan is to cut taxes so that people can keep more of the money they earn and feel more financially secure. ‘Nearly nine out of ten hard-working people across the country will benefit from this tax cut on Sunday – and it’s one of the proudest things I have done in Government.’’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Osborne tops our Cabinet league table for the very first time

Bloom lays into Farage ahead of second Clegg debate

UKIP glass‘Nigel Farage is not up to the job of leading the UK Independence Party and should step down to make way for a younger replacement, his former flatmate has said. Godfrey Bloom, who was elected as Ukip MEP but now serves as an independent, said that Mr Farage was a “salesman” who lacked the ability to properly lead the party. His comment, in an interview with the Telegraph, came as Mr Farage prepared to meet Nick Clegg in his second televised Liberal Democrat leader over Europe.’ – Daily Telegraph

Len McCluskey thinks Labour is set to lose the election

‘Ed Miliband is on course to lose the next election and his timidity could destroy the Labour Party, the head of the Unite union said yesterday. Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Labour’s largest donor, said that people would be tempted to “stick with the devil we know” unless Mr Miliband can convince voters he is on the side of working people.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Cllr James Cartlidge on Comment: Alistair Darling is right – there should be a UK-wide referendum on a Sterling Zone

Damian Green demands Police Federation reform

Police‘The secretive police union is today told to put its house in order or face tough new laws forcing it to reform. Police minister Damian Green says the Police Federation must open its books and make public details of accounts containing millions of pounds. The Federation – still reeling from the fallout from Plebgate, its political campaigning and revelations about credit card spending and off-shore accounts – must also enact ‘genuine and sustained change’.’ – Daily Mail

  • The story of a shock jock who toppled a minister – Daily Mail
  • Police to wear cameras – The Sun (£)
  • Mary Riddell: book ban is symptomatic of a justice problem – Daily Telegraph

Hunt wants alternative therapies in the NHS – where there’s evidence that they work

‘Mr Hunt, whose wife Lucia is Chinese, was asked what he had learned about the integration of traditional therapies with Western medicine during his visits to China.  He replied: ‘What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that, but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.’’ – Daily Mail

  • NHS managers get pay rises for doing the same job in a different quango – Daily Mail
  • Major challenges for new NHS boss – FT Leader
  • ‘Bad eggs’ could be struck off – The Independent
  • Unions annoyed at the idea of reform – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Julia Manning on Comment: Can Saint Simon rescue the NHS?

English teens excel at practical problem solving

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION‘Teenagers in England are better at practical problem-solving tasks than they are in core academic subjects, an international study has found. Children in English secondary schools scored well above the average across 44 countries when asked to undertake real-life challenges. These included operating an MP3 player, setting a thermostat or calculating a route between destinations.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: The Deep End: How good schools drive the middle classes into debt

Nanny state Wales: Minimum alcohol price and e-cigarette restrictions

‘It is proposed that Wales becomes the first in the UK to introduce a ban on e-cigarettes in public places. Health Minister Mark Drakeford said he believed the growing use of the products has normalised smoking and undermines the enforcement of the smoking ban, which was introduced in Wales exactly seven years ago.’ – Wales Online

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Robinson and McGuinness tried to block FoI request…because it will cost them votes

News in brief

  • Met Office claims its forecasts will now be 80 per cent correct – Daily Mail
  • Smog warning for large parts of England – Daily Express
  • War Horse author calls for white poppies – Daily Mail
  • Schoolgirl crushed to death by collapsing wall – The Times (£)
  • Tsunami warning for Chile – FT
  • Government cries foul over price of England World Cup shirts – The Sun (£)