HS3: New east-west high speed rail link needed for the north says Osborne

Conference 4“A new high-speed rail link in the north of England connecting Manchester and Leeds could help to create an economic area to rival London, Chancellor George Osborne is to say. A “northern powerhouse” is needed as London’s dominance is “not healthy” for the economy, he is expected to say. He will say better transport links will allow it to “take on the world”. Labour’s Ed Balls said “nobody” will believe the Tories can deliver jobs, growth and investment for the north.” – BBC

  • “The chancellor will say: “We need to think big. We need an ambitious plan to make the cities and towns here in this northern belt radically more connected from east to west – to create the equivalent of travelling around a single global city. As well as fixing the roads, that means considering a new high-speed rail link. Today I want us to start thinking about whether to build a new high-speed rail connection east-west from Manchester to Leeds. Based on the existing rail route, but speeded up with new tunnels and infrastructure. A third high speed railway for Britain.” – The Guardian
  • “Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, who has advised the Government on urban regeneration, said: ‘Let us use economic recovery to spread wealth to every corner of our country. Nowhere is better placed to lead the rebalancing of the UK than the North. The combined might of great cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds and the talent of the people who live there must have the chance to lead this vital part of our country.’ ” – Daily Mail

The rise of Juncker leaves prospect of Britain’s continued EU membership “very bleak” warns IDS

“A failure by European leaders to embrace reform will result in “very bleak” prospects for Britain’s continued membership of the EU, Iain Duncan Smith said on Sunday as David Cameron prepared to launch a last-ditch attempt to block Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the next European commission president. In a sign of how Juncker’s appointment could strengthen the hand of Eurosceptic members of the cabinet, the work and pensions secretary said the strong support among other EU leaders for the former Luxembourg prime minster amounted to “flicking two fingers” at the electorate.” – The Guardian

  • “The imminent selection of Mr Juncker as Commission president is a sign that the EU will continue on the federalist path… if Europe’s leaders are prepared to inflict what will, by any measure, be a humiliating defeat on Britain’s prime minister, it is becoming increasingly clear that they do not care what we think.” – Leader Daily Telegraph
  • A drunk who has cognac for breakfast – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Matthew Elliott on Comment: The City belongs to Britain, not Europe

Re-train the retired to teach Tory Manifesto will propose

School“Newly retired workers from a range of different fields will be parachuted in to teach at Britain’s toughest schools under Tory manifesto plans. Recent retirees will enrol on an intensive course to retrain as teachers, before being fast-tracked into schools in inner cities and other deprived areas. The Teach Seniors programme will be based on Teach First, which has seen thousands of high-flying graduates heading into the classroom.” – Daily Mail

  • “There must be many thousands of people finishing their working lives every year who could bring expertise in a whole range of disciplines into the classroom. They would not necessarily be able to teach exam classes and nor should they be slaves to a curriculum; but they would offer much in the way of experience and enthusiasm.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

>Today: Joe Baron on Comment: Head teachers are allowing their best students to be victimised and abused

Campaign to deselect Nigel Evans

“Nigel Evans, the former deputy speaker who was cleared by a jury of rape and sexual assault, is battling to remain a candidate at the next election. The Conservative MP for the safe Lancashire seat of Ribble Valley is facing moves to deselect him by Tory activists who have taken a “dim view” of allegations made in court about his lifestyle in Westminster, including heavy drinking and sex with younger men. Around a third of rank and file members and several executive officers of the Conservative Association think he should step aside for a new candidate, it is understood.” – Daily Telegraph

Doctors warn of £2bn NHS black hole

NHS“An emergency £2 billion bailout of the NHS is being demanded within the government amid high-level fears of an approaching crisis in patient care. Ministers have been given dire warnings about the consequences of a raid on hospital budgets next year. Experts are predicting longer waiting times and staff cuts as hospitals slide into the red without extra funds from the Treasury. The shortfall is so pressing that there are demands for George Osborne to take action in his last autumn statement before the election. If he refuses, he will find himself in a confrontation with doctors, who declare today that the NHS has already been cut to the limit.” – The Times(£)

  • Leave NHS decisions to the doctors says poll – The Guardian
  • MPs use NHS “to score points at despatch box” – The Independent
  • NHS sends staff on £280,000 fact finding mission – Daily Express

Fox says the security services may need more money and power

“Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said the problem of jihadist fighters returning home from Syria is a “real worry” and one that might require a tightening of state monitoring powers. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the former Minister of Defence from 2010 to 2011 said that the government needed to reassess the spending allocation and power given to the security services to ensure they can deal with the growing problem of jihadists involved in the Syrian conflict returning to Britain.” – The Independent

>Yesterday: WATCH: Liam Fox – Jihadists hate us because of who we are

Labour would put Universal Credit on hold

Rachel Reeves“Labour will “pause” the government’s flagship welfare reform if it wins the next general election in 2015, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves has said. Ms Reeves said her party supported the universal credit policy in principle, and hoped to “rescue” it. She said the Department for Work and Pensions had been in “chaos” under her opposite number, Iain Duncan Smith. Mr Duncan Smith said implementation of the project was now “working well”.” – BBC

  • “Reeves is to announce that Labour would cut the additional red tape the scheme will impose on self-employed people – the section of the labour market that is growing most quickly. “If universal credit goes ahead, we will make major changes to help families and businesses by cutting red tape for the self-employed and making payments of benefits for children to the person who is caring for them, not just the main earner,” she said. “These changes that will be funded from within the existing budget.” – The Guardian

Iraq conflict could put 4p on a litre of petrol

Petrol pump“The crisis in Iraq could push up petrol prices by 4p-a-litre, heaping pressure on hard-pressed families and threatening to derail the economic recovery. The escalating violence has sent oil prices spiralling to a nine-month high of $115 a barrel – raising the prospect that this will soon be felt on forecourts across Britain. Uncertainty over oil supplies from Iraq, which accounts for nearly four per cent of the world’s production, came amid fresh signs that the army is losing its battle with the terror group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).” – Daily Mail

>Today: Columnist Charlotte Leslie MP: How my anger at Tony Blair helped to drive me into politics

Mid Staffs doctors were paid bonuses for “excellence”

“MEDICS at a scandal-hit health trust bagged up to £3.2million in bonuses while patients lay dying. Consultants at the Mid Staffs NHS Trust landed 170 taxpayer-funded Clinical Excellence Awards from 2006 to 2010. Up to 1,200 more patients died at Stafford Hospital from 2005 to 2009 than would have been expected — many through “appalling neglect”, a public inquiry found.” – The Sun(£)

Salmond agrees to TV debate with Darling

SALMOND on Marr “Alex Salmond has staged a major climb down and agreed to face Alistair Darling in a Scottish independence debate as STV and the BBC announced plans for televised showdowns before the referendum. The First Minister dropped his long-standing demand that his first debate be with David Cameron, clearing the way for a televised confrontation with Mr Darling to be broadcast on STV if a date can be agreed. The pro-UK Better Together campaign was jubilant about the “long overdue” climb down but Mr Salmond said he would continue challenging the Prime Minister to a debate.” – Daily Telegraph

A Lib Dem demand for bigger spending cuts

“Between 1997 and 2010, productivity fell by 0.2 per cent in the public sector while it grew by double digits in the private sector. Newspapers, retailers and now taxi drivers are having to cut costs in response to the digital revolution — or die. Public services must embrace the same pace of change. Otherwise the bloated state will forever impose a ruinous and job-destroying tax burden on our nation’s businesses.” – Centre Forum Chairman Paul Marshall The Times(£)

Ridley: stop the EU ban on GM crops

mattridley“Remember, organic bean sprouts killed 51 people in one E coli outbreak in Germany in 2011. GM food has killed nobody. There’s now simply no way to argue with a straight face, after billions of GM meals have been eaten all round the world, that the technology is a threat to our health. The reverse is actually the case. Purple tomatoes, rich in anti-cancer agents, have been created in Norwich, but they will be grown and sold in Canada, because we in this country are still denied such health benefits thanks to green campaigners.” – Matt Ridley The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Nick Clegg is toxic says Lib Dem peer Lord Storey – The Guardian
  • UKIP voters can’t use the internet says Chuka Umunna – Daily Mail
  • Advocate proposed for victims of public disasters – The Independent
  • Lord Janner’s office searched in children’s homes investigation – Daily Mail
  • EU human rights law stops thieving postman being deported – Daily Express

And finally…Poor mobile phone signal meant PM cut short Cornwall holiday

Phone“David Cameron has revealed he cut short his Cornwall holidays due to poor mobile phone reception in the county. He returned home in early 2011 and 2013, as poor coverage hampered his updates on the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the Syrian conflict. The prime minister told the Western Morning News on Sunday: “This is a really big issue for people all over the country – the ‘not-spots’. …As I go down a hill into Polzeath, I know exactly which bit of the road I lose my signal. So it is a problem. I know where to go to get a signal, but it can be very frustrating.” – BBC


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