Boris bandwagon lurches towards Uxbridge

Boris Hurdles“The way is now open for him to stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where one of the city’s safest Tory seats (majority 11,000) has opened. He did not deny his team had already been in touch with constituency branch officials. But he revealed: “I received some information recently, like in the last half hour. It turns out that by some clerical oversight I’ve been included on the official candidates list.” – Evening Standard interview

Tanya Gold: Beware the coldness beneath cuddly Boris

“Under the narcissism and the faux jollity is a coldness that I suspect Mr Johnson will find it increasingly difficult to hide. It is the antithesis of his witty teddy schtick. Some, particularly his former colleagues, have always known about it; as the Johnson bandwagon rolls on to No 10, will the electorate discover it too, and turn against him? His biographer, Sonia Purnell, has personal experience” – Tanya Gold, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Andrew Cooper, the mind behind the Cameron modernisation project, “to be made a peer”…

COOPER Andrew“Mr Cooper is a Conservative moderniser who spent more than 15 years trying to impress on the Tory Party the need to adapt and modernise. Mr Cooper – a co-founder in polling firm Populus – left 10 Downing Street last April after a reported a clash with other members of Mr Cameron’s inner circle…Reports have said that three Labour peers are likely to be announced, including Michael Cashman, the former EastEnders actor.” – Daily Telegraph

…Other names “to be announced tomorrow”: Suri, Brady, Rose, Farmer

“Ranbir Singh Suri – last night nicknamed the ‘King of Bling’ by Labour sources – was nominated by David Cameron…The Prime Minister is expected to hand peerages to Apprentice star Karren Brady and former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose…It has also been rumoured that Michael Farmer, a City financier who has donated more than £2.3million to the Tories since 2002, is also in line for a peerage. He was appointed the Tory co-treasurer in 2012.” – Daily Mail

Continuity at Education: Morgan continues Gove drive against extremism

MORGAN Nicky headshot“Nicky Morgan will announce that toddlers are to be taught ‘fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way’ to help combat radicalism. In her first major policy statement, she will say local authorities will be compelled to use new powers to strip funding from nurseries found to promote extremist views. Also under the proposed rules, nurseries that teach creationism – the rejection of evolutionary theory – as scientific fact will also have their taxpayer funding cut.” – Daily Mail

Six-year high for hospital waiting lists

“Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt last week announced £250million to clear a backlog of up to 100,000 knee, hip and cataract operations for those waiting the longest. A Government spokesman said hospitals are carrying out an extra 2,300 operations a day compared with four years ago – and added that it was important not to force hospitals to prioritise easier operations over complex surgery to meet targets.” – Daily Mail

Benefits cap pushes 500 a month into work

DUNCAN SMITH white background“The figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 7,370 households affected by the £26,000-a-year limit have got a job. Some 2,320 have also stopped claiming housing benefit, suggesting they were now earning enough not to qualify. Ministers introduced the £500-a-week cap in April last year. Since then, nearly 46,000 households have had their benefits capped as a result of the policy. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “By capping benefits we are putting a stop to these runaway benefit claims and returning fairness to the system.” – The Sun (£)

UK broadband link-up back on schedule, says Javid

“Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, who has said broadband is a priority in advance of next year’s general election, will announce on Friday that the government is on track to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses by 2017. “More than a million homes and businesses have now benefited as a result of the government’s investment in superfast broadband,” said Mr Javid. BDUK had difficult beginnings as a result of an unwieldy devolved system of local tenders for private groups competing for subsidies to build fibre networks for the provision of broadband in remote areas.” – Financial Times

Labour to exploit “Cameron’s women problem” over equal pay

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo“The party is understood to view the issue of equal pay as “unfinished business” from the last time it was in power and is keen to capitalise on David Cameron’s “women problem”, with polls showing he does not connect well with female voters…Labour believes that the Conservatives are weak on the issue of equal pay and are keen to make it a dividing line between the parties. A senior party source said: “It’s very likely to be something that we will address in the manifesto.” – The Independent

  • Harman: Divorced Ministers “can’t lecture on the nuclear family” – Daily Telegraph
  • Police ‘told not to arrest Greville Janner over abuse claims’ – The Times (£)

Clegg: Stop sending drug users to prison

“In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the Deputy PM revealed he wants to end the imprisonment of 1,000 drug users a year who haven’t committed any other crime. And he branded the current sentencing rules as “spectacularly self-defeating” and “utterly senseless”. Throwing users behind bars only hooks them on harder drugs or turns them into professional criminals, Mr Clegg argued. And the £5million a year bill should be spent on rehab and battling drugs lords instead.” – The Sun (£)

Jagger, Dench, Forsyth, Cowell, Hawking kick Salmond when he’s down

JAGGER Mick“More than 200 celebrities and public figures have urged Scotland to vote No in the referendum on whether the country should leave the UK. Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Dame Judi Dench, Simon Cowell and Professor Stephen Hawking are among the famous names to sign an open letter ahead of the vote on Scottish independence. The list of 215 names which includes Oscar and Grammy winners, Olympic medallists and a Nobel prize recipient represents “the best of British talent and intellect” according to Let’s Stay Together campaign.” – Scotsman

  • How we drew up our love letter to Scotland – Tom Holland, Daily Telegraph
  • Three main parties squabble over more devolution for Scotland and more self-government for England – Financial Times (£)
  • “Pretend we’re pleased to see each other, Alex”: how Darling sledged Salmond – The Sun (£)

Guns of August 1) Iraq: Obama authorises air strikes on ISIS

“Mr Obama said families of the Yazidi religious group, hiding high up in the mountain with little but the clothes on their backs had a grim choice “descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger”. The president said: “The United States cannot and should not intervene every time there is a crisis in the world, so let me be clear about why we must act and act now.”…Mr Obama said: “Targeted air strikes will take place if necessary to help forces in Iraq fight to break the siege of Mt Sinjar and help protect the civilians trapped there.” – The Times (£)

Guns of August 2) Putin blocks western food imports

Vladimir Putin“His move was in angry response to sanctions imposed by Britain and other nations over Russia’s support of separatists in Ukraine who are accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last month. Imports of meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, milk and dairy products from the EU, including Britain, plus the US, Australia, Canada and Norway were outlawed. The drastic move, to last for at least a year, is likely to cost Western farmers billions of pounds.” – Daily Express

Guns of August 3) Hamas rejects ceasefire

“Two senior Hamas officials said the Palestinian militant movement will not extend a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza that expires Friday morning, accusing Israel of rejecting their demands for a truce. A leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller faction in Gaza that is also present in Cairo-mediated truce talks, confirmed the factions had decided not to extend the ceasefire. “We have one position, we refuse to extend the ceasefire, it is a final decision. Israel did not propose anything,” said one senior Hamas official after a long meeting with Egyptian mediators.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Antisemitism on rise across Europe ‘in worst times since the Nazis’ – The Guardian
  • Has the Tricycle Theatre broken the law by refusing to host the Jewish Film Festival? – Adam Wagner, Human Rights Blog
  • Galloway investigated by police for saying Bradford an ‘Israel-free zone’ – The Guardian

Bill Carmichael: Where was Galloway when Assad slaughtered children?

ASSAD sunglasses“Galloway is also a staunch supporter of the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who has killed more Palestinian civilians than the Israelis ever have, including months of bombardment by jets and artillery of the Palestinian refugee camp at Yarmouk, near Damascus. The fighting in Syria has claimed more than 170,000 lives including more than 9,000 children, compared to fewer than 2,000 killed in Gaza, yet I don’t recall Galloway ever calling for a ban on Syrian nationals or the Left boycotting Syrian goods.” – Yorkshire Post

> Today:

> Yesterday:

News in Brief

  • Germany close to recession – Daily Telegraph
  • Ebola latest – The Sun(£)
  • National Trust chief attacks ‘green blob’ over subsidies for rich – The Times (£)
  • Origami self-assembling robot crawls off drawing board – Financial Times
  • DUP will use vote-blocking tactic to keep McCausland in his job – Belfast Telegraph
  • Man fined for pretending to be ghost – The Guardian
  • You can record our meeting…but then you have to destroy the recording’: the bizarre demand Monmouth Town Council made to reporter – Wales Online
  • Hurricane Bertha 1) “60 per cent chance” that it will hit the UK on Sunday morning – Daily Mail
  • Hurricane Bertha 2) “Storm to miss the UK, path set to take it to France – The Independent
  • Five million elderly talk to no-one in weeks – Daily Express

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