Cameron: I’d love to raise the 40p threshold…but I can’t

cut taxes‘The Prime Minister said: ‘I know that a lot of people believe that the 40p rate now kicks in quite early and quite of people who don’t see themselves as fundamentally very wealthy are paying that 40p tax rate. Now I would love to be able to stand here and say we are going to sort all this out, we will raise the thresholds of all these tax rates, I can’t make that promise today.’ – Daily Mail

  • An insight into his weekly meeting with the Queen – Daily Mail

>Today: The Deep End: The future of tax-cutting conservatism could be decided in Kansas

Shapps: Miliband plans to tax death

‘There are only two certainties in life – death and Labour putting up taxes. Now Ed Miliband has found an easy way of combining the two. Labour wants to slap a 15 per cent death tax to pay for inefficient and ineffective spending.’ – Grant Shapps, Daily Express

  • Labour guru: Tax the dead, they don’t vote – Daily Mail
  • Grayling: Red Len’s spending will cost you £5,500 – The Sun (£)
  • Striking NUT boss paid £160,000 – Daily Mail


>Yesterday: LeftWatch: The shamelessness of Balls

More sanctions on Russia – but EU avoids offending gas boss

Russian flag‘The new Brussels blacklist is the first time that it has gone beyond sanctions on people directly involved in Crimea or East Ukraine to hit the oligarchs in Mr Putin’s inner circle but the EU has failed to be as tough as the US that has targeted many more of the banks and individuals at the centre of power in Russia. EU governments dependent on Russia for energy imports have held off listing Igor Sechin, the mastermind of the Kremlin’s energy strategy and Russia’s second most powerful man because he is the chairman of Rosneft, the oil company with close links to European companies such as BP.’ – Daily Telegraph


>Today: ToryDiary: Western weakness caused this crisis in the East

Heath: Banker bashing has gone too far

‘Britain’s war on bank bonuses has now become completely absurd. Yes, dear reader, you read that right: unlike almost everybody else, I believe that the latest “crackdown” on bankers will turn out to be disastrously counter-productive. It will weaken the City, cost jobs and is the wrong solution to the wrong problem. Demagoguery has infected even the coolest of heads.’ – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

Montgomerie: Come clean, Mr Cameron – the EU means we can’t control immigration

EU Exit‘Mr Cameron, may I give you some advice?…I’ve read that you want to appear tougher on immigration so that you can win back Tory voters who have defected to Ukip. If this really is your intention, it isn’t working. Slowly but surely you are actually losing voters’ confidence on immigration. Voters know that you can’t control immigration as long as Britain is a member of the EU and the EU has freedom of movement across its borders. You need to be straight with them.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • 79.2 per cent of EU nationals in UK are in work – The Sun (£)

>Today: Graeme Archer’s Column: The stranger at my shoulder

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: ‘Migrant cop-out’…’Why won’t Cameron come clean?’…’Window dressing’ – the new immigration ‘crack-down’ falters

Boris: London needs £1.3 trillion for infrastructure

‘London needs £1.3tn invested in its infrastructure over the next 35 years to retain its place as one of the world’s leading cities, the Mayor of London has said. With the capital’s population expected to rise to 11m by 2050, London needs to increase investment in transport, power, education, housing and airports, Boris Johnson said.’ – FT

Glover: The Middle East was better off with dictators

Egypt flag‘The lesson of Kosovo, Iraq and Libya is that we should cease judging the world in simplistic moral terms. In all these cases there are no ‘good guys’. And there are ‘bad guys’ who are even worse — and more dangerous — than Col Muammar Gaddafi, President Bashar al-Assad and Saddam Hussein.’ – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Hammond calls COBRA meeting on Ebola

‘The foreign secretary, who took up his post only last week, chaired a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergencies committee of ministers, officials and advisers. Speaking after the meeting, he said he was co-ordinating with his French and American counterparts and the World Health Organisation to look at tackling the outbreak at its source. “We need to just keep this in context – it’s a horrible disease and this is a significant outbreak, but the current number of people affected, spread across three countries, is containable at the moment,” he said.’ – FT

  • The threat is low, but he’s right to prepare – The Sun Says (£)

Who gets to run the Civil Service?

Whitehall‘Once, Whitehall might have looked to local government for a “doer”. But it only recently spat out Rob Whiteman, former chief executive of the UK Border Agency and former chief executive of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Those who might once have done this job with gusto, Barry Quirk, say, of Lewisham, or Steve Bundred, formerly of the Audit Commission, would be considered too knowing, too sage or too long in the tooth. Who’s in Lord Browne’s contacts book? The impresario of non-executive government in Whitehall surely knows a corporate go-getter or two – possibly even a woman.’ – David Walker, The Guardian

Self-driving cars on the way to Britain

‘Self-driving ‘robo-cars’ are to be allowed on Britain’s roads from the New Year despite fears over their safety, the Government announced yesterday. Ministers are fast-tracking the measures, which pave the way for drivers to sit back and, ultimately, concentrate on other tasks as an on-board computer assumes command of the vehicle.’ – Daily Mail

Questions for Bercow over pass for donor

John Bercow‘House of Commons Speaker John Bercow faced calls for an official inquiry last night over why he gave a Parliamentary pass to a friend of his wife – who later donated thousands of pounds to his re-election campaign. Wealthy businesswoman Farah Sassoon was given the pass – which allows full unescorted access to the Palace of Westminster – two years ago.’ – Daily Mail

News in brief