Cameron to tell the EU: I will countenance Brexit

EU Exit“David Cameron is preparing to raise the spectre of Britain leaving the European Union should it reject a large overhaul of its rules, The Times has learnt. … The shift, which is being actively considered in Downing Street, would amount to a significant toughening of the prime minister’s stance towards Europe as he looks to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Brussels. … Informed sources said that No 10 could turn up the heat by opening the possibility of Britain’s EU exit, known as a Brexit. The timing of the threat has not yet been agreed. Mr Cameron could issue the warning at the Tory conference at the end of next month.” – The Times (£)

  • “The time has come to level with the EU about the chances of a British withdrawal” – Times editorial (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Cameron moves towards the exit door, but will Britain ever vote for Brexit?

Hammond repatriates a British nurse who has contracted ebola

“William Pooley will be kept behind plastic sheeting for weeks, if not months, to stop the spread of ebola. … Yesterday the 29-year-old nurse was put into an air transit isolator, a clear plastic sack, to stop the virus escaping into the RAF C-17 transport plane that flew him home from Freetown, Sierra Leone. … On board was a team of British specialists who conducted a full clinical examination before confirming he was safe to fly. … Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond gave the final approval for the repatriation before the transporter took off at 1.50pm UK time.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ebola is terrifying. But be thankful you live in Britain.” – Sun editorial (£)

Terrorism 1) Britons who go to Syria are “guilty until proved innocent”, says Boris

BORIS at rally“There are perhaps five or six hundred Britons currently out there – overwhelmingly, though not exclusively, young men. If and when there is a real attempt to take on Isil, they may come back in a hurry and in a group. … The Lib Dems will oppose the return of control orders; but even Nick Clegg would surely accept that times have changed. If we have to bring back control orders for some of the more serious risks, we should do so immediately. And unless they come back – and if they continue to give allegiance to a terrorist state – then absolutely we should take away their citizenship.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

And further comment:

  • “So far ministers have offered only reheated ideas to stop the export of terrorism from Britain. What is needed is coherent action on three fronts” – Times editorial (£)
  • “The Government cannot legally strip a Briton of citizenship. As hundreds of bloodthirsty young jihadis fly out to join IS, that law must change.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Over the past decade, the west may have deflected the jihadist poison from one location to another, but has failed to drain it.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Isis’s undoubted skill in exploiting social media is no reason for US leaders to start talking about the apocalypse” – Robert Fisk, The Independent
  • “Should Islamic State’s caliphate endure, it is a fair bet that it will eventually become a bureaucracy peopled with functionaries rather than assassins.” – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • “Scandal we’ll let jihad beasts back in Britain” – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)
  • “Ban the executioners of Isis from the internet’s public square” – Zeynep Tufekci, Financial Times
  • “Ban jihadis? The human rights crowd won’t like it.” – Peter McKay, Daily Mail

> Today: ToryDiary – How should Britain counter the Islamic State group? Take our latest monthy survey

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – In the battle for Muslim hearts and minds, futile gestures should play no part

Terrorism 2) Twenty British jihadis leaving for Iraq and Syria each month

Iraq flag“A shocking jihad UK league table is revealed by The Sun today. … It shows young Brits from all parts of the country joining IS terrorists. … We have identified 80 who joined up or were quizzed over terror links. … The South-East, with 25 volunteers, tops the table. … But 20 new recruits leave every month to join 500 Brits already waging holy war in Iraq and Syria. … At least eight have died.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Islamic State militants have seized a major Syrian air base, wiping out the last government stronghold in a province dominated by jihadists.” – Daily Mail
  • “On the northern side, the black flags of Islamic State (Isis) shimmer in the afternoon haze. But on the Iraqi side it is not a national flag that flutters but a black Shia banner.” – The Guardian
  • “Prime Minister Tony Abbott is reportedly considering sending Royal Australia Air Force aircraft to join the US in carrying out air strikes against the Islamic State.” – Daily Mail

Terrorism 3) More details emerge about “Jihadi John” suspect

“The father of the man suspected of being ‘Jihadi John’ is accused of being one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants and is currently awaiting trial in the us for his part in the bombing of two US embassies in which 224 people died, The MailOnline can reveal. … On trail: Adel Abdel Bari is accused of plotting the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.” – Daily Mail

  • “The video of a British jihadist beheading an American hostage was probably staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic analysis.” – The Times (£)
  • “In an extraordinary piece of detective work, 35-year-old Eliot Higgins, who has investigated the Syrian conflict, may have pinpointed the spot where the reporter was killed.” – Daily Mail

Terrorism 4) US journalist released by captors

Captured journalist“Peter Theo Curtis was handed over to UN representatives, just days after Foley was beheaded by ISIS. Curtis is now safely outside Syria, U.S. government officials confirmed. … The United Nations said it helped with the handover to U.N. peacekeepers in a village in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights and that Curtis was released to American authorities after a medical checkup.” – Daily Mail

  • “The British Embassy in Washington DC has been forced to apologise after attracting the the ire of some Americans by tweeting a photograph of a cake celebrating the anniversary of the burning of the White House.” – Daily Telegraph

Screens are blighting family life, warns the Government’s childhood tsar

“British parents are among those in Europe most likely to neglect their children, according to the Government’s childhood tsar. … Reg Bailey, who carried out a review into the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood for David Cameron, bemoaned the decline in time spent talking around the dinner table. Instead, parents are letting ‘screens take over’ from family time, claimed the chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, who said the proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers is reducing the amount of ‘face-to-face time’ that families spend together.” – The Independent

> Today: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column – Families help make our society stronger

The growing revolt against Bercow’s choice of Commons clerk

John Bercow“John Bercow will try to convince MPs that the Parliament building should not be run by someone whose working life has been spent studying parliamentary procedure. … The Speaker is facing a revolt over the choice of the Australian Carol Mills to be the next clerk of the House of Commons. The rebels argue that the most important part of the chief clerk’s job is to advise the Speaker on parliamentary procedure, a role for which Ms Mills has no obvious qualifications.” – The Independent

“John Bercow, the Speaker of the Commons, is facing a sexual discrimination claim over his plans to give Parliament’s top job to an Australian woman. … David Natzler, the current deputy clerk, is considering legal action after a panel chaired by Mr Bercow opted to give the £200,000-a-year job of Commons clerk to Australian official Carol Mills.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: Sir Alan Duncan MP on Comment – The roles of Clerk and Chief Executive of the House must be split

Lamb proposes on-the-spot fines for drunks who abuse A&E staff

“Drunks who abuse staff in A&E departments should be fined £50, health minister Norman Lamb has said. … Those who ‘gratuitously’ consume too much alcohol, especially at the weekends, are putting a ‘huge’ burden on hospitals according to the senior Liberal Democrat. … He wants on-the-spot fines for them, starting with those who are ‘abusive’ to medical staff, and can make A&E feel like a ‘war zone’.” – Daily Mail

  • “A ‘fry-up’ pie should be banned from a hospital canteen, says a food expert. … The £1.50 ‘heart attack on a plate’ is crammed with bacon, sausage, black pudding and beans, with an egg on top. … It is being sold at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, where doctors fight to save stroke and heart attack victims.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Viagra can now be prescribed on the NHS to all men suffering from impotence after the expiry of the pill’s patent last year led to the development of cheap generic versions of the drug.” – The Independent

Cable moves to close zero hour loopholes

CABLE Dr Evil“Employers who try to dodge new laws on zero hours contracts could face legal penalties, as ministers attempt to show they are serious about tackling the exploitation of workers. … Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat business secretary, will on Monday launch a consultation with businesses and unions to close potential loopholes in his plan to ban the use of ‘exclusivity’ clauses in zero hours contracts.” – Financial Times

  • “Vince Cable has compared the British economy to a ‘patient still on a life- support system’, with concerns about the housing market and the strength of the pound. … The Liberal Democrat business secretary used an interview with The Times to warn of the need to be ‘realistic’ about the progress of the economic recovery.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “How banks can pay their debt: help others stay out of it” – Graeme Archer, The Times (£)
  • “Don’t fear growth – it’s no longer the enemy of the planet” – Chris Huhne, The Guardian

And Laws wants to triple the pupil premium

“The Liberal Democrats will go into the next election proposing to triple the pupil premium for early years infants, according to David Laws, the education minister. … The early years pupil premium is currently worth £300 a year for three- and four-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds in nursery and Laws says the Lib Dem policy would take its value to £1,000 per child by 2020. More than 170,000 children could benefit.” – The Guardian

Milburn writes that Miliband and Cameron have created problems for their own parties

LABOUR dead rose“Both leaders have created a positional problem for their parties. Mr Cameron looks as if he leads a party for toffs that has nothing on offer for low-income voters. Mr Miliband looks as if he is soft on public spending but hard on big business. To stand any chance of winning outright both need to break out of this core-vote straitjacket. Mr Cameron needs policies and positions that make the Tories appealing to northern, ethnic minority, working-class and women voters. Mr Miliband needs to do the same for southern and aspirational and middle income voters — first and foremost by abandoning the fallacy that the best way to win is by abandoning new Labour.” – The Times (£)

Labour could sue one of its own MPs

“Labour last night threatened to sue one of its own MPs after he claimed a senior aide to Ed Miliband referred to Northerners as ‘backward’. … Austin Mitchell, 79, said Anna Yearley made the remark as they rowed about moves to get more young women from the North into Parliament. … Last night the party dismissed the claim as ‘completely ridiculous and completely untrue’. … And in an extraordinary move, Labour said it was considering bringing libel proceedings against Mr Mitchell, who has been an MP for nearly 40 years.” – Daily Mail

Benn: Councils in the poorest areas are suffering the deepest cuts

“The poorest areas of England have endured council cuts under the coalition worth 16 times as much per household as the richest areas, research has claims. … Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, said his figures showed the government had ‘failed to apply the basic principle of fairness’ when allocating money to local government. … However, he confirmed that a government led by Ed Miliband would not be in a position to raise overall council spending. Instead it would focus on distributing money more fairly, he said.” – The Guardian

  • “Councils will today call for a change in the law to prevent them having to sell voters’ personal details to junk mail firms. … Local authorities have come under fire from privacy campaigners for effectively aiding the junk mail barons who bombard families with unwanted leaflets and letters. … But, in a significant intervention today, the Local Government Association (LGA) calls for a change in the law to bring an end to the practice.” – Daily Mail
  • “In new research that highlights fears that the wealth divide is growing, Barnardo’s found that one British family in five is too poor to make a city-to-coast journey.” – The Independent

Blair under fire for advising Kazakh dictator

BLAIR Europe“Tony Blair was branded ‘disgraceful’ last night for advising a notorious dictator on how to ‘spin’ a massacre of civilians by his regime. … The former prime minister is said to have earned millions of pounds advising Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the former Soviet republic since 1989. … Leaked documents yesterday revealed Mr Blair’s assistance included giving the autocratic ruler detailed advice on how to improve his international image following an incident in which police shot dead 14 unarmed civilians protesting against his rule.” – Daily Mail

Salmond and Darling get drenched…

“Scotland’s First Minister has taken the ice bucket challenge after being nominated by actor James McAvoy. … The screen star dared Alex Salmond and Better Together leader Alistair Darling to be drenched in freezing water to raise money for charity. … Former chancellor Mr Darling completed the challenge on Friday and nominated his colleagues at the pro-Union campaign.” – Daily Mail

…ahead of tonight’s TV debate

Scottish flag“The head of the ‘Better Together’ campaign is expected to seize on claims that the nationalists have been overstating likely future North Sea oil revenues and to focus heavily on uncertainty about the currency an independent Scotland would use. … Mr Salmond’s Scottish National party insists that the country would be able to form a formal currency union with the remaining UK, despite the rejection of this proposal by all three main Westminster parties.” – Financial Times

“Alex Salmond is expected to launch a sustained attack on Monday evening on the Conservative-led coalition’s NHS record as he brings one of the key ideological battles of the Scottish referendum to the fore in the second televised debate of the campaign.” – The Guardian

  • “Alex Salmond needs tonight’s referendum debate to be ‘a game changer’ if Yes is to triumph next month, a leading polling analyst has said.” – The Scotsman
  • “The Ministry of Defence is to postpone publishing its annual report until after the Scottish independence referendum.” – The Scotsman
  • “Both Spain and Belgium would block an independent Scotland’s application to join the European Union, a former president of the EU’s finance council has predicted.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “An independent Scotland should walk away from its share of the UK’s national debt if Westminster continues to refuse a sterling union, one of the Yes campaign’s leading economic gurus has advised.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Sir Walter Scott would support the Union” – Matthew Maxwell Scott, Daily Telegraph
  • “Only the very detached could ignore the growing wave of optimism in the Yes camp during recent weeks.” – Lesley Riddoch, The Scotsman
  • “Salmond’s difficulties, if he can neutralise the currency question, are more tonal. Although considerably more popular than his opponents in Scottish politics, his personality is polarising.” – Ruth Wishart, The Guardian
  • “Salmond threatens a shabby end to a beneficial union” – Martin Jacomb and Andrew Large, Financial Times
  • “Alex Salmond must tonight answer two questions. Mr Darling, who has already stated the Better Together case in convincing fashion, must do little more than ask them.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Salmond falls far short on certainty” – Financial Times editorial

Watchdog warns of cyber catastrophe

“A global watchdog has sounded the alarm about the growing danger of cyber attacks, on financial markets, warning that firms and regulators around the world need to address the ‘uneven’ response to the threat of online assaults. … Greg Medcraft, chairman of the board of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (Iosco), predicted that the next major financial shock – or ‘black swan event’ – will come from cyber space, following a succession of attacks on financial players.” – Financial Times

Home buyers turns towards 30-year mortgages

House icon“Soaring numbers of home buyers are taking out mortgages that will last 30 years or more, amid warnings that they are signing up to a lifetime of debt. … One in five of the 171,000 loans taken out in the second quarter of this year had a term of 30 years or longer, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. … Among first-time buyers the figure was even higher, at 28 per cent.” – Daily Mail

  • “Children born today looking to buy their first home in 2048 will be required to pay a staggering £3.4million, according to new research.” – Daily Mail
  • “…a garrison town near Salisbury Plain and a bracing Cumbrian seaside village were yesterday hailed among the country’s most desirable postcode areas in a report for Royal Mail.” – Daily Mail

White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

“White lines could be scrubbed out from the centre of urban roads after research showed the move dramatically cut the number of speeding cars. … Transport for London, which controls major roads in the capital, conducted a study on three routes which showed vehicle speeds fell by up to 13 per cent. … The report concluded: ‘Centre line removal introduces an element of uncertainty which is reflected in lower speeds.’” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Richard Attenborough has died, aged 90 – Daily Mail
  • Governor at school linked to the “Trojan Horse” plot is being sued – Daily Mail
  • Earthquake shakes San Francisco – Financial Times
  • Iran claims to have downed Israeli drone over nuclear site – Daily Telegraph
  • Libyan capital under Islamist control – The Guardian

And finally 1) Praise for the taxman

Tax Take“A VIP service to praise the taxman is being held in Westminster Abbey. … The boss of HM Revenue & Customs Lin Homer has invited top guests to ‘recognise the department’s role over hundreds of years in collecting revenue’. … The invitation-only event at the church — where Kate and Wills wed in 2011 — will be held on September 23.” – The Sun (£)

And finally 2) Celebrity endorsements? No, thanks

“Gary Barlow, Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard and John Cleese have all endorsed political parties, but could celebrities be damaging their own reputations — and that of the party they support — by doing so? … A study conducted in the United States shows that celebrity endorsements for political parties can be a perilous business, as everyone involved risks being tarred by negative associations.” – The Times (£)

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