growth flagJobs boom: largest quarterly rise since records began

‘The UK’s spectacular employment growth has accelerated further, helping the jobless total fall to a five-year low. But a renewed squeeze on real wages has heightened the political battle over the cost of living. The number of people in work grew by 345,000 to 30.54m in the three months to April. It was the fastest quarterly rise since records began in 1971, and surpassed the previous record set last month of 283,000, said the Office for National Statistics.’ – FT

Mansion House Speech 1) Osborne to clamp down on rogue traders

‘City traders who manipulate foreign exchange and other markets in London will face years in jail, George Osborne will warn today. The Chancellor will announce plans for new criminal sanctions designed to clean up the City, which has been the subject of a series of investigations following allegations of abuse. ‘The integrity of the City matters to the economy of Britain,’ he will say. ‘Markets here set the interest rates for people’s mortgages, the exchange rates for our exports and holidays, and the commodity prices for the goods we buy.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Profile: Team Osborne – feared, admired, and sometimes enraging for other Conservatives

Mansion House Speech 2) New housebuilding push

Homes For All Big‘The chancellor will explain a package of planning reforms and state investment, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, to speed up housebuilding. Mr Osborne is expected to give more details about how he expects the Bank of England to tackle risks to financial stability posed by sharp rises in house prices in London and the southeast. Many Conservative MPs are resistant to large-scale building in the countryside, so Mr Osborne will focus on developing “brownfield” sites in urban areas.’ – FT

>Today: LocalGovernment: More homes are being built, says Pickles

Cameron tells MPs of plan to win over UKIP voters

‘The Prime Minister told a private meeting of his backbench MPs that Labour had more to lose from the popularity of Ukip, which won last month’s European elections and came second in last week’s Newark by-election. He told a meeting of the backbench 1922 committee – including Chancellor George Osborne – that his message to Ukip supporters was “if you are concerned about these issues, economy, Europe immigration – we are the party that has got the answers”.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Chloe Smith MP on Comment: How to turn the Conservative Party into Generation Y’s natural home

Scottish nationalists sling abuse at JK Rowling for backing the Union

Scottish flag‘Harry Potter author JK Rowling has launched a  passionate defence of the Union after revealing she donated £1million to the fight against breaking up Britain. The best-selling author said she loves Scotland and wants ‘to see it thrive’ – but her highly personal article immediately sparked a torrent of vile abuse from nationalist cyber bullies – or ‘cybernats’. Though she had prepared herself for the attacks, the extreme level  of online abuse sparked condemnation from across the political  spectrum, including from pro- independence politicians.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: “No, thanks” – Better Together deploys politeness to save the Union

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Salmond vows to stand in 2016

Ministers forced to intervene as Passport Office tries to drop security checks

‘A briefing note sent to staff on Monday told Passport Office workers to drop checks on countersignatories, as well as requirements for evidence of addresses and letters of confirmation employers and accountants. An hour after the leaked document was published on the Guardian’s website on Wednesday night, the Home Office issued a terse statement saying that ministers had no knowledge of the instructions and had ordered managers at the Passport Office to withdraw it immediately.’ – The Guardian

Conservatives complain to Charity Commission about Oxfam

PATEL Priti headshot‘Conservative MPs have stepped up a row with Britain’s leading aid charity over its ‘misleading’ assault on the Government’s austerity programme. Ministers are understood to share anger at Oxfam’s campaign accusing the Government of creating a ‘perfect storm’, including ‘benefit cuts’ and ‘unemployment’, which it suggested was fuelling hardship in Britain. Oxfam insisted it had a ‘duty’ to highlight hardship in the UK, but Tories branded its attack a ‘disgrace’ as official figures showed another record increase in the number of people in work.’ – Daily Mail

Ofsted: segregating pupils by gender is allowed

‘Ofsted has told its inspectors that segregating boys and girls is acceptable in Muslim schools and should not be criticised, The Times has learnt. Instructions to inspectors say that girls and boys “may well” be taught or seated separately in schools with an Islamic ethos and that this does not amount to discrimination.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: John Bald on LocalGovernment: The climate of fear in Birmingham

Boris volunteers to be blasted by water cannon

borisfringe‘Boris Johnson promised to be blasted with a water cannon to prove they are safe, after he ordered three to use on the streets of London. The London Mayor went ahead with the order without Home Secretary Theresa May sanctioning their use, fuelling tensions between the senior Tories.  Challenged on the radio to face a cannon himself, Mr Johnson said: ‘Man or mouse. Alright, you’ve challenged me to this. I suppose I’m going to have to do it now.’’ – Daily Mail

  • Cameron supports the Mayor – FT

Tory MEPs set to ally with German AfD

‘David Cameron’s relations with Angela Merkel are expected to come under renewed strain on Thursday, with the Conservatives poised to form an alliance with her opponents, the anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland party. The German chancellor views the populist AfD as a political enemy and has urged Mr Cameron not to form a pact with the party in the newly elected European Parliament.’ – FT

Montgomerie: Introduce recall to end the poisonous safe seats mentality

Commons‘I wouldn’t expect a recall election to be held often. It would be tough to persuade even 10 per cent of any local electorate to hold an emergency, mid-term election. Most of us don’t participate in most existing elections. We’d only want a special one in special circumstances. Simply the knowledge, however, that recall would be possible should be planted in every MP’s mind. I can’t think of a better way to abolish the safe seats mentality and the ills associated with it.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Fabians predict another hung parliament

‘Britain is heading for another hung Parliament as Labour will fail to win a majority next year, bombshell analysis by party activists has revealed. In work drawn up for Labour MPs, the left wing Fabian Society say Ed Miliband will win significantly LESS than half of all his 106 target seats at the general election.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Ed-ing for a fall – The Sun Says (£)
  • Lib Dems slump to 6 per cent in YouGov poll – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: Cameron gives Labour nightmares

Taxi protests backfire as Uber app surges

Shield‘Black cab drivers and licensed taxis converged at Trafalgar Square for the go-slow protest to show their opposition to Uber, an app which allows customers to book and track vehicles…Despite the protests, the technology firm behind Uber confirmed a surge in downloads for the app, with a week-on-week increase of 850 per cent.’ – Daily Mail

ISIS extremists over-run more towns and cities in Iraq

‘Iraq was under siege yesterday after Al Qaeda-inspired jihadists seized control of Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit and closed in on the country’s biggest oil refinery. Coming less than 24 hours after the country’s second city Mosul was overrun by the militants, there were fears that the loss of Tikrit could open the way for an assault on Baghdad just 80 miles to the south. British security firms working in the capital are said to have been put on high alert amid fears that insurgents will target the ‘Green Zone’ where most of the foreign embassies are based.’ – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • World Cup begins today – The Times (£)
  • Staggering council tax arrears owed across Wales – WalesOnline
  • Prince Philip speaks publicly for the first time about saving a Navy ship from the Nazis – Daily Mail
  • ITV pays students to drink 48 units of alcohol – The Sun (£)
  • Sun block is little use against skin cancer – The Times (£)
  • Man stuck in airport overnight makes his own music video – The Independent
  • Cat eats Britain’s rarest butterfly – The Sun (£)
  • Obesity is not a disability – Tanya Gold, The Guardian
  • Young Russians who yearn for the Soviet days – The Independent

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