Reshuffle speculation

downingst‘Feisty employment minister Esther McVey and ice-cool schools minister Elizabeth Truss head possibly a dozen women in line for promotion as David Cameron shakes up his team for the last time before next year’s election. Several long-serving male Cabinet ministers branded ‘the old lags’ will make way for new faces.’ – Daily Mail

£1 billion surprise for special forces

‘The power of the SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) to fight terrorism and free hostages will receive a surprise boost today in a plan to invest more than £1 billion in hi-tech military equipment and cyber warfare. Bucking the trend of defence cuts, David Cameron will stress the importance of drones and special forces when he unveils the investment at the Farnborough Airshow.’ – The Times (£)

Osborne’s ‘hard hat’ tour

Osborne-Headshot3‘George Osborne has ordered the Treasury to prepare plans for an exhaustive pre-election “hard hat tour”, aimed at giving the chancellor the chance to dispense hundreds of millions of pounds on capital projects. His team is preparing visits on an almost weekly basis – many of them to key electoral battlegrounds – where he will announce investments in science, transport and other infrastructure schemes.’ – FT

  • Yet another HMRC power grab – Daily Telegraph
  • Alexander accused of pork barrel politics – FT

Assisted suicide debate in the Church deepens

‘Lord Carey wrote in the Mail that helping someone who is in great pain to die was in keeping with Christian belief. He said it was not anti-Christian to believe terminally ill people should be allowed to die with dignity. On the same day, however, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he would oppose a Bill to legalise assisted dying put forward by former Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer. Archbishop Welby said it would leave a ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over the elderly, putting them under pressure to end their lives.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Cllr Chris Whitehouse on Comment: The Bill that would transform our doctors into licensed killers

Farage dangles a deal

UKIP logo‘Nigel Farage has suggested he is prepared to do a deal with Conservatives ahead of the next election if they surrender working class seats in Essex and Kent. Mr Farage said that if he was David Cameron, he would offer to give up 30 seats where the Tories are currently trailing behind Labour to give Ukip a clear run.’ – Daily Telegraph

Ministers consider a co-chairman to work with Butler-Sloss on abuse panel

‘Calls for Baroness Butler-Sloss to be removed as head of the inquiry into historical claims of child abuse intensified yesterday following further lurid allegations against political figures. The government is considering appointing a co-chairman of the independent panel following growing concerns about the former judge’s close links to the establishment.’ – The Times (£)

  • David Mellor accuses those making allegations of smearing the dead – Daily Mail
  • Backlash against Stephen Fry’s criticism of Yewtree police – Daily Mail
  • One in fifty Catholic priests are paedophiles, says the Pope – Daily Mail

North East of England leads the recovery

growth flag‘The North East is the fastest growing region in the country in a sign the economic recovery is spreading, figures show today. Lloyds Bank said its index of activity among UK companies – where anything above 50 represents growth – dipped from 59 to a still robust 58 in June. Companies in the North East of England saw the strongest expansion last month, with the region clocking up a record score of 64.8.’ – Daily Mail

  • Employers could achieve even more with regional pay bargaining – Daily Mail Leader

UK spaceport on the way

‘Scotland is poised to take a giant leap toward space tourism by becoming the home of the UK’s first “spaceport”. RAF bases at Kinloss and Leuchars, along with Lossiemouth, home to a helicopter rescue centre, are understood to be front runners for the spaceport which could see space tourists blasting-off from Scotland within four years.’ – The Times (£)

Cable plans tougher foreign takeover rules

CABLE Dr Evil‘Vince Cable plans to strengthen Britain’s takeover rules to make it harder for international bidders to renege on promises made during a deal. The business secretary concluded that the existing rules were inadequate after Pfizer’s £69.4bn approach for AstraZeneca. Mr Cable said on Sunday he was going to bring in new rules to ensure that companies honoured commitments made during the takeover process.’ – FT

Your family can help you get a mortgage

‘A new ‘family mortgage’ that allows parents and grandparents to help out house buyers will be launched today. The revolutionary home loans will make it easier for young adults to get on to the housing ladder with deposits of as little as 5 per cent of the property’s value.’ – Daily Mail

  • How the EU strangles your pension – Daily Mail

Staff at Muslim primary school urge stoning of gay people

School‘Teachers at a Muslim faith primary have allegedly referred to clapping hands as ‘Satanic’ – and had discussions about whether music in school might be un-Islamic. Footage was obtained for a Channel 4 documentary at The Olive School – a Muslim faith primary for 600 pupils in Blackburn, run by the Tauheedul Islam Faith, Education and Community Trust. It is also claimed that footage shows staff talking about how ties could be turned into snakes and that gay people should be stoned to death. The Trust has labelled the discussions as ‘staff room gossip’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Prison imams have extremist links – The Times (£)

15-year-olds more likely to have a smartphone than a dad living at home

‘MORE 15-year-olds have a smartphone than a father living at home, a report has revealed. And nearly half of under-fives in the UK’s poorest families do not live with both parents, it says.’ – The Sun (£)

Anderson: How dare Channel 4 defame Airey Neave?

NEAVE Airey‘I was in the Commons when the INLA bomb exploded. I remember the chill, the quickly spreading rumours, which were all-too rapidly confirmed: Geoffrey Howe was in tears; he had seen the body. Airey Neave would not live to enjoy the triumph which he had prepared. INLA murdered him for his convictions. Thirty-five years later, Channel Four appears to want revenge for his successes.’ – Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph

Clegg’s school meals policy backfires

‘Schools in some parts of the country are having to raid their own budgets to pay for Nick Clegg’s plan to give four to seven-year-old pupils free meals. Freedom of Information figures suggest nearly a third of councils cannot afford to provide free school lunches for infants from September.’ – Daily Mail

An ethics induction for new MPs?

Commons‘Newly elected MPs should be put on an induction course to learn “the seven commandments” of standards in public life, a powerful parliamentary committee has said. Before entering the House of Commons, MPs should be taught about the need to be honest and have integrity when serving the public, the Committee on Standards in Public Life has said in a report.’ – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Germany win the World Cup – Daily Mail
  • Work starts to refloat the Costa Concordia – The Times (£)
  • A new format for the EU Commission – FT Leader
  • Beware alarmists blocking scientific progress – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • Kirstie Allsopp buried her mum in the garden – Daily Mail
  • Cheryl Cole married in secret – The Sun (£)
  • Israel warns Palestinians of major offensive – The Times (£)
  • Snowden joins UK snooping debate – The Guardian