Iraq 1) Calls to recall parliament

PARLIAMENT‘With both the PM and the Deputy Prime Minister away, not a single minister appeared in front of the cameras yesterday. Instead, No 10 merely issued  pre-prepared statements. Lord Dannatt, the former Chief of the General Staff, said: ‘It is not the moment for decision-makers to be on holiday.’’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Parliament should be recalled

Iraq 2) MPs urge airstrikes against ISIS

‘David Cameron was under pressure from his own MPs last night to launch airstrikes against jihadists in Iraq and to supply weapons to the Kurdish forces who are fighting them. A group of MPs expressed dismay at Britain’s efforts so far to save minority religious groups in the north of Iraq from a feared genocide at the hands of militants. They called for the prime minister, who has been on holiday in Portugal, to recall parliament.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column: The success of our United Kingdom holds lessons for uniting Iraq

Welfare 1) IDS: Ending dependency is key to economic success

DUNCAN SMITH AITW‘The Work and Pensions Secretary will make a speech outlining how reducing dependency on welfare is getting more British people into work. He will say: ‘The core and point of the economic plan, the driving force, is the quality of the people who make it happen – the British people – for no plan can work unless their well-being is at the heart of it. But none of this is deliverable if we don’t deal with the British domestic problem. The economy can never be where it should, holding its own in this tough world market place, unless British families play a full productive part in that plan.’ – Daily Mail

  • The benefits system drove up migration – The Times (£)
  • Apprenticeships attract middle class teens – Daily Telegraph

Welfare 2) Policy Exchange: Cut the benefits cap outside London and the South East

‘The benefit cap should be reduced for those living in cheaper areas outside London and the South East, according to David Cameron’s favourite think-tank. In a major new report, Policy Exchange says the £26,000-a-year cap should be cut to £23,400 — saving £100million a year. Spokesman Steve Hughes called it “a solution that avoids multiple rates across the country”.’ – The Sun (£)

  • No-one, anywhere, should be better off out of work – The Sun Says (£)

No campaign enjoys a 22-point lead in Scotland

Scottish flag‘Scotland is on course to vote overwhelmingly to stay in the Union, an exclusive poll for The Sun has revealed. The YouGov survey of voters north of the Border gives the pro-Union campaign a comfortable 22-point lead over their rivals. It means the Nationalists have made no progress at all since the pollsters’ last survey in June, when the result was the same.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Salmond ‘too blokeish’ – Daily Mail
  • Independence currency collapse would cost Scots £30 billion – The Times (£)
  • A Yes vote would increase your mortgage – The Scotsman
  • The Union has a lot more life left in it – The Sun Says (£)

>Yesterday: Rebecca Coulson on Comment: Miliband and Salmond are both playing a bad game of politics

50 per cent rise in foreign prisoners avoiding deportation

‘The number of foreign criminals avoiding deportation rose by 50 per cent last year – despite repeated Government pledges to kick them out. In total, 1,310 overseas convicts considered for removal were not sent home, up from 890.’ – Daily Mail

Warsi ‘embarrassed herself’

Sayeeda Warsi‘Last night a Conservative MP criticised Lady Warsi, saying if the Tories were not winning the ethnic minority vote that was her fault as much as anyone’s because she had been minister for community cohesion. Alec Shelbrooke, the MP for Elmet and Rothwell in Yorkshire, claimed that she had ‘embarrassed herself’.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: John Howell MP on Comment: The Government has the right approach to Gaza

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Warsi gets one thing right – and everything else wrong

Hunt launches drive to encourage NHS whistleblowers

‘Jeremy Hunt has ordered health chiefs not to block staff from speaking out as he launched a review into the treatment of whistleblowers. Sir Robert Francis, QC, who led the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire scandal, has already begun taking evidence from whistleblowers who claim that NHS trusts and unions are silencing those who raise the alarm over poor care.’ – The Times (£)

  • Lack of skills in Whitehall – FT

Pay inheritance tax before you die

Tax Take‘Savers could be forced to pay inheritance tax while they are still alive, under a new drive against tax avoidance planned by the Government. Ministers want to stop wealthy people benefiting from complicated schemes that allow them to dramatically reduce the amount they will owe after their death. Under plans put out for consultation, HM Revenue & Customs would have powers to subject people minimising inheritance tax to “accelerated payment” laws.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Police, nurses and teachers dragged into 40p rate – Daily Mail
  • Less spending and more growth is the only solution – The Times Leader (£)
  • Voters threaten to abandon Tories over fiscal drag – The Times (£)
  • Concerns over balance of power in the Bank of England – FT

Morgan: A-level standards are more important than rising grades

‘Annual rises in exam grades do not always equal better standards in schools, the Education Secretary has said in a further hint that A-level results could drop this summer. Nicky Morgan said it was not important to see “numbers rise” to achieve overall improvements to the education system.’ – Daily Telegraph

Call for health warnings on wine bottles

beer‘Health warnings should be compulsory on bottles of wine, beer and spirits to raise awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking and the growing problem of liver disease, a group of MPs has said. The recommendation is part of a series of measures put forward by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse.’ – The Guardian

Franklin: Big Brother is cutting crime

‘Locking criminals up or letting them go is a poor choice, because society pays one way or the other. A much better way is to deter crime. For the would-be criminal, prison seems a distant consideration; a CCTV camera pointing in his direction is a very different proposition.’ – Peter Franklin, The Times (£)

UKIP’s assault on Labour to kick off with Doncaster conference

UKIP logo‘The UK Independence party will next month hold its annual conference in Ed Miliband’s Doncaster constituency – at a local racecourse – as a symbol of its intent to hammer the Labour vote in the north in May’s general election. The anti-Brussels party is realistic about its chances of “decapitating” Mr Miliband, but has taken heart from a Doncaster council by-election two weeks ago where it won a seat with 41 per cent of the vote.’ – FT

  • MEP refuses to apologise after praising Hitler’s rhetoric – The Sun (£)
  • Some of them are nutters – The Sun Says (£)
  • Farage’s wife gets a new job…working for another UKIP MEP – Daily Mail
  • How the insurgents resonate in Thurrock – FT

News in brief

  • Bercow’s £1,300 expenses for funeral trip to Manchester – The Sun (£)
  • RSPCA threaten family with prison over cat’s long hair – Daily Mail
  • Self-harming among children rises – The Times (£)
  • Face of Army reserve recruitment quits – Daily Telegraph
  • Deckchair size change to accommodate fat Brits – The Sun (£)
  • Can you name your next door neighbours? – Daily Mail
  • Erdogan wins Turkish presidency – FT
  • Frank Maloney attempted suicide over gender identity – The Sun (£)
  • Nationalise mobile phone companies – Owen Jones, The Guardian
  • The weather is bad – Daily Telegraph