Iraq crisis leads to reopened Iran talks (and embassies)

Iraq flag‘The United States is set to open historic talks with its arch-enemy Iran as it tries to halt the unravelling of Iraq amid mounting evidence of atrocities…William Hague will today add to the sense of a diplomatic breakthrough between the West and the Islamic republic by announcing that Britain is to reopen its embassy in Tehran.’ – The Times (£)


>Today: Garvan Walshe’s Foreign Policy column: Seven mistakes to avoid over Iraq

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Tony Blair, the Rector of Stiffkey

Immigrants must speak English – public attitude to immigration toughens

‘Most people in Britain think immigrants should speak English and have their access to benefits restricted, but there is a ‘disconnect’ between politicians’ attitudes and public opinion on the issue, a survey has found. The annual British social attitudes poll revealed that 95 per cent of the population think the English language is the cornerstone of Britishness. Around three out of four said you must be born in Britain or have lived here for most of your life to be classified as British, and six out of ten think EU migrants should wait three years before claiming benefits.’ – Daily Mail

  • It’s in all our interests that they learn the language – The Times Leader (£)
  • Cameron must be stricter – Daily Mail Leader
  • Celebrate our liberal values – Janan Ganesh, FT
  • People also want migrants to wait three years before getting benefits – The Sun (£)
  • The London/UK divide – FT

>Yesterday: Rishi Sunak on Comment: How Canadian Conservatives won over minority voters

Saatchi: Abolish Corporation Tax on small businesses

cut taxes‘We are publishing The Road from Serfdom, a policy paper to coincide with the CPS’s Margaret Thatcher Conference on Libertyand the think tank’s 40th anniversary. The paper proposes that corporation tax be abolished for small companies. And that capital gains tax be abolished for investors in small companies. It’s worth remembering here that the average UK company has five employees. The Policy, as I call it, would therefore abolish corporation tax for 90 per cent of UK companies.’ – Lord Saatchi, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Do we really want #Liberty2014?

Fall in Tory membership in marginal seats

‘Membership in Tory marginal seats continues to plummet with local parties complaining of “hard work with no political reward”, according to figures from the Electoral Commission. Marginal constituencies lost an average of 8.6 per cent of their membership and 21 per cent of their income between the end of 2012 and the end of 2013.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: The Deep End: Now would be an excellent time for a post-mortem on the 2015 Conservative election campaign

Gove: All school children must be offered milk once a day

GOVE, Michael blue sky‘School milk must be offered to all pupils from the New Year, it emerged last night. Officials believe it forms a key part of a healthy diet. They also hope the measure will slash pupils’ consumption of fruit juices, with their high sugar content. The change comes in new school food standards released today.’ – Daily Mail

  • Sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks banned – The Sun (£)
  • Wilshaw: Fine parents who don’t read to children – The Times (£)
  • We must have higher expectations, not fines – The Times Leader (£)
  • Education is a civil rights struggle for the poor – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • Downing Street knows neither it nor Gove can stop Cummings – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Is the Education Secretary distancing himself from his ex-adviser? – The Times (£)

Cameron facing defeat over Juncker

‘European leaders could be forced to vote for Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission next week amid claims that the “die is cast” in his favour. David Cameron, who has fought to block the frontrunner, could find himself outvoted at a private dinner of European leaders in Ypres next Thursday. According to one source, Mr Cameron has all but lost the argument with Angela Merkel. “Short of a complete U-turn by the chancellor, the die is cast in Berlin,” said a leaked report prepared for Herman van Rompuy.’ – The Times (£)

Scottish government proposes written constitution

Scottish flag‘The Scottish government has unveiled its proposals for an interim written constitution to be used if Scotland votes for independence on September 18. The draft constitution asserts that “in Scotland, the people are sovereign”, a break with traditions of sovereignty rooted in the monarchy or parliament. The governing Scottish National party says a written document would offer better protections for citizens’ rights than the UK’s unwritten constitution.’ – FT

  • The UK’s future is federal – FT Leader
  • Poll shows Scottish support for Trident – The Herald

Ashcroft Poll: Farage is UKIP’s answer to Simon Cowell

‘Simon Cowell might not be terribly flattered, but voters say that when they think of Ukip, they also think of him. A focus group said the party reminded them of the X Factor boss because it was so dependent on Nigel Farage’s celebrity. The research, which took place in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Thurrock in Essex, was commissioned by Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Labour lead by six points in my latest national poll

Fallon: don’t let human rights obstruct Chinese trade talks

Michael Fallon portrait‘Moves to simplify and speed UK visa applicants for Chinese visitors were unveiled in an announcement timed to coincide with the arrival of Mr Li and a large business delegations to London last night. Mr Cameron will press for a lifting of a 30-year ban on British beef and lamb first imposed during the BSE crisis in the 1980s during the talks, said Number 10 officials. Ahead of the talks Michael Fallon, the Conservative business minister, said concerns about human rights should not be an obstacle to efforts to increase UK exports.’ – The Times (£)

Ed Balls uses zero hours contracts for staff

‘Ed Balls has employed four workers on ‘zero hours’ contracts in the last year — despite Labour’s pledge to clamp down on them, The Sun can reveal. The Shadow Chancellor is one of the biggest users of the casual agreements, where employees are often not guaranteed any fixed hours.’ – The Sun (£)

News in brief

  • Army looks at relaxing tattoo rules – Daily Telegraph
  • You know what they say about men with big feet? It isn’t true – Daily Mail
  • A fete worse than death: Labour MP praises the wrong village – The Sun (£)
  • Prince George’s clothes sell out immediately – Daily Mail
  • Civil servant fired after Wikipedia slurs – Daily Telegraph