Election Battle 1) Osborne: Labour and UKIP threaten Britain’s free market

OSBORNE SWORD‘Britain’s status as an open free-market economy is at risk for the first time in a generation, George Osborne will warn on Wednesday. Business leaders must speak up for the free market and free trade or risk seeing the country slide into an “anti-business” era of high taxes, regulation and trade barriers, the Chancellor will say. Mr Osborne will tell the CBI that the prospect of a Labour government and the rise of the UK Independence Party both threaten the British “consensus” that governments should try to stay out of markets and help companies do business.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Mark Field MP on Comment: Why Britain’s best future lies inside the European Union

Election Battle 2) Cameron: 2015 victory will be tough but “not impossible”

‘Winning next year’s general election will be “very tough” for the Tories – but “not impossible”, David Cameron has admitted for the first time. The PM revealed the uphill challenge he faces to stay in power in an interview with Sun Cabbie Grant Davis ahead of tomorrow’s euro and council elections. He also offered up a major concession to say he “understands” why so many people will vote Ukip tomorrow.’ – The Sun (£)

Election Battle 3) UKIP ‘carnival’ in Croydon collapses into farce

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes‘Nigel Farage was forced to abandon an appearance at a “carnival” today for Ukip’s ethnic minority supporters after it descended into chaos. A band of steel drummers, booked to play at the event in Croydon, South London, said they would not have agreed to appear if they had known it was for the party and packed up after five minutes. The gathering was picketed by a group of protesters branding the party racist, while one of the party’s most prominent black supporters, a former parliamentary candidate in Croydon, described the town as “a dump”.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: UKIP and the media – a passionate, stormy affair which could come to a sticky end

Election Battle 4) A bad day for Miliband

‘Ed Miliband was accused of being out of touch yesterday after he was stumped by basic questions about his household budget.   The Labour leader suffered further humiliation in a subsequent radio interview because he did not know the name of the Labour party leader at a battleground council.’ – Daily Mail


Election Battle 5) Lib Dems fear total wipeout in local government

Curse of Clegg 2‘The Liberal Democrats face a total wipeout in tomorrow’s local elections and look likely to end up with fewer councillors than when the party was formed in the 1980s, polling experts said yesterday. Nick Clegg already faces increasing demands not to enter another coalition in 2015, as the party gets hammered once again for its alliance with the Tories over the last four years.’ – The Times (£)

  • School heads struggle to find thousands to fulfil Free School Meals pledge – Daily Mail
  • Ipswich council orders staff to declare flings – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Free schools are under attack because they are working

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Clegg’s strong words betray his weak position

Independent Scotland would need border patrols

‘Border patrols may have to be introduced on the British mainland because an independent Scotland would need thousands of immigrants to stay afloat, it has been claimed. And people moving between Scotland and England might need to show their passport. The warnings came after a report said Scotland would not be able to pay for its pensions without a huge influx of foreign workers to help balance the books.’ – The Sun (£)

  • New tax system will cost £750m – FT
  • SNP invited to devolution summit – The Scotsman

Abu Hamza convicted – but why did Britain take so long to deal with him?

Police shield‘Hamza’s conviction also sparked new controversy over human rights laws. In total, it took eight years to extradite the extremist to the US after he lodged a string of appeals in Britain and Strasbourg. The Prime Minister said it was ‘good that he has faced justice’ but he would take action to speed up the extradition process if the Conservatives remain in government next year. Mr Cameron added: ‘I think we should reflect on whether we can extradite faster.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Is it Conservative to believe that “the Islamic state is the greatest contribution to humanity”?

Plebgate police officer said she could ‘topple the Tory government’

‘A police officer at the heart of the Plebgate affair boasted she could bring down the Government, it emerged last night. The explosive claim was made by one of those who barred former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell from riding his bike through the gates of Downing Street. The female constable is said to have texted her friends after the incident became public, telling them: ‘I can topple the Tory Government.’’ – Daily Mail

Prince Charles compares Putin’s behaviour to that of Hitler

Russian flag‘Prince Charles has sensationally likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. In a withering verdict on the actions of the Russian president in Ukraine, he told a woman who lost relatives in the Nazi Holocaust: ‘And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.’ The prince’s extraordinary  intervention is certain to cause international controversy.’ – Daily Mail

Prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS

‘Electronic cigarettes should be prescribed on the NHS, scientists have said, after evidence showed them to be far more effective in helping people to quit than over-the-counter nicotine patches, gum or willpower alone. Researchers at University College London followed 5,863 smokers who were attempting to stop over five years. Those using e-cigarettes were 60 per cent more likely to succeed than those using other common methods.’ – The Times (£)

  • Embrace the new technology – The Times Leader (£)
  • We spend money on the obese while others are denied life-saving treatment – Jane Moore, The Sun (£)
  • Welsh health system fails to provide specialist obesity care – WalesOnline
  • Only a quarter of nurses think NHS managers respond urgently to neglect – The Sun (£)

News in brief

  • Pregnant woman shackled on death row for being Christian – Daily Mail
  • Julia Gillard on misogyny – Daily Telegraph
  • Women bishops to be fast-tracked into the Lords – Daily Telegraph
  • US Coast Guard resumes search for missing yacht crew – The Times (£)
  • Car bomb attacks in Nigeria – Daily Mail
  • Americans mistake man for Prince Harry, and try to marry him – Daily Telegraph
  • Royal Mail trials Sunday deliveries – The Times (£)
  • June Sarpong joins Newsnight team – Daily Telegraph

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