Cameron promises to tighten law on strike ballots

School“A million pupils face being turned away from classes on Thursday as teachers go on strike based on a poll of just a quarter of union members two years ago. The Prime Minister pledged to overhaul an archaic law that has allowed members of the National Union of Teachers to disrupt children’s education without any fresh ballots” – Daily Telegraph

  • Disruptive school strike should be declared illegal – Grant Shapps, Daily Express
  • McCluskey brands Cameron “the Bullingdon bully” – Guardian
  • Rolling strike mandates must be abolished – Mark Wallace, CityAM
  • NUT cases – The Sun Says (£)

Spooks allowed to track terror plots on web

“Emergency new powers will be unveiled today to allow enshackled MI5 and cops to probe the internet for terror plots again. A new law to be rushed through Parliament will also give them crucial access to plotters’ mobile phone records…The urgent move is to counter a disastrous ruling by Euro judges…The PM and Mr Clegg will hold a rare joint press conference this morning to spell out the plans” – The Sun (£)

“Conflict of interest” raised over Butler-Sloss role

Butler-Sloss“Lady Butler-Sloss, the retired high court judge appointed as chair of the inquiry panel examining child abuse, faced a backlash on Wednesday as Labour MPs and a victims’ lawyer called on her to stand down over conflict of interest. The Home Office was forced to defend the appointment of Butler-Sloss ‘unreservedly’ after critics pointed out that her brother, the late Lord Havers, was attorney general from 1979 to 1987 when some of the controversy over the failure to prosecute child abuse cases could have arisen” – Guardian

  • Children at risk as police diverted to past cases – The Times (£)
  • People who fail to report child abuse could be prosecuted – The Sun (£)
  • Grayling: 700 more sex offenders in prison cause overcrowding – Guardian
  • An inquiry will do little to protect abused children – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
  • Lady Butler-Sloss is the wrong choice – Guardian Editorial
  • Let’s see some evidence: then we can panic – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • How paedophiles buy children in Cambodia – Independent

>Today: Profile – Simon Danczuk, the tough Rochdale MP unafraid to ask the difficult questions on child sex abuse

Juncker denies he is a federalist

“‘We have been told you like a drink, you’re a smoker,’ Nigel Farage told Jean-Claude Juncker. ‘We couldn’t care less.’ Mr Juncker’s reply was equally jovial: ‘Can I have a cigarette?’ he asked. The former prime minister of Luxembourg, who faces a confirmation vote in the parliament on Wednesday, mocked his image as a ‘dinosaur’ of the EU machine. ‘I am not a federalist in the British sense,’ he said” – The Times (£)

Cable orders a review of privatisation pricing

CABLE Marr purple shirt“Ministers have ordered a review into the sell-off of state assets, just days before MPs publish a report that is expected to criticise last year’s privatisation of Royal Mail. Lord Myners, former City minister, will lead a panel of experts to examine alternatives to initial public offerings for privatising state assets, as well as whether the process of gauging what investors are willing to pay for shares can be improved” – Financial Times

Welby prepares to force through women bishops

“The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is preparing to drive through legislation to allow women bishops even if it is rejected by the church’s governing body, the General Synod. The synod is poised to vote again on the vexed plan next week but senior sources have told the Guardian that should the move be blocked again, there are now options being considered to force the change on the church” – Guardian

UK minus Scotland does not equal disaster

Scottish flag“Last week’s Spectator magazine worried about England and the rest of the UK if Scotland voted to end our 300-year-old union. Apparently we’d be a ‘weedy laughing stock’. A rump. A nation that could not stride across the world, only ‘hobble’. What nonsense. We’d remain the enterprising, multiracial and forward-looking nation that millions of immigrants are attracted to” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • Why Neal Ascherson’s pro-independence argument is wrong – Martin Kettle, Guardian
  • Head of Scotch Whisky Association denies intimidation by Yes camp – Scotsman

>Yesterday: Tory Diary: The Tory leadership needs to start talking about England again, ahead of 2015

Calls to sack Villiers

‘David Cameron is under pressure to move his Northern Ireland secretary in an impending reshuffle amid warnings that she is out of her depth. Theresa Villiers, who has been in the post for two years, has failed to impress across the political spectrum. A senior Northern Irish politician likened her to a tape recorder. “She puts in a tape, presses play and this stream of stuff comes out. She doesn’t listen.” So widespread are the concerns that even her junior minister, Andrew Robathan, has criticised her in her absence during private meetings.’ – The Times (£)

Randall to step down – for Boris?

“London Tory MP Sir John Randall is stepping down – clearing the perfect path for Boris Johnson’s return to the Commons, The Sun can reveal. The 58-year-old party grandee is vacating his Uxbridge seat, which he has held since 1997. As one of the capital’s few safe Conservative seats – with a majority of 11,216 – it is the perfect berth for London Mayor Boris, meaning he wouldn’t have to abandon Londoners” – The Sun (£)

News in brief

  • Hamas fires rockets at Israel’s nuclear reactor – The Times (£)
  • Six dead in Houston house shooting – BBC
  • Woman stabbed to death at mental hospital in Gloucester – Guardian
  • Second German suspected of spying for USA – Guardian
  • Security crackdown adds to cabin baggage confusion – Independent
  • Full moon may stop people sleeping – Daily Mail
  • Argentina beat Holland on penalties to reach World Cup final – Daily Mail
  • Froome abandons Tour de France after second crash – Daily Telegraph
  • Daily Mail apologises to George Clooney – Daily Mail