UKIP 1) Mark Reckless defects…

140928 Sunday Telegraph“The Prime Minister only gave us two arguments why people should not support Ukip. First, it would be a wasted vote as that they could not win MPs. Second, he said that Nigel Farage did not have anyone behind him. … Douglas or I might easily have thought, ‘Well that is easily dealt with’. It was as if Mr Cameron was goading us that we could do more for what we believed in within Ukip than we could as Tories under his leadership. … But, of course, there is much more to my decision than that meeting, and I have not left the Tories to join Ukip lightly. … For me, that loss of belief and trust that I experienced in the Prime Minister’s policy over Europe has been compounded by broken promises elsewhere.” Mark Reckless, Mail on Sunday

  • “The bombshell came after Ukip leader Nigel Farage had pointed to polls showing his party is on track to win the Tory seats of Boston and Skegness, South Thanet, Clacton and Thurrock, the Lib Dem seat of Eastleigh and is closing on Labour in Rotherham.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Mr Hague urges fellow Tories to reject the UK Independence Party and to ‘work very hard’ to defeat ‘the least electable’ Labour opposition he has ever seen, as he prepares his final speech to the party conference in Birmingham this week.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Matthew Richardson, a barrister and Ukip’s legal officer, has approached a series of Tory backbenchers as they enjoy drinks in the autumn evening sunshine by the river Thames.” – Sunday Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Mark Reckless follows Carswell and defects to UKIP

UKIP 2) …as Davis tells Cameron to “get serious”

FARAGE eating“The defection to Ukip of Douglas Carswell and now Mark Reckless, all brings into sharper focus the need to look at our main strategy. When it becomes the leading joke of the day on Twitter, that ‘To lose one MP is careless, but to lose two is Reckless,’ perhaps it is time to realise the threat from Ukip is no longer a laughing matter. We have to recognise the problem, think out the answer, and act on it. … Headline policies have downplayed the economy and reform of public services, and concentrated on fringe issues like environmentalism, gay marriage and foreign aid. Very few of these are in voters’ top five concerns.” – David Davis, Mail on Sunday

  • “The Tories’ worst enemy is the one within.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “While many Tory voters will be tempted by Ukip, a vote for them at the General Election, as George Osborne reiterates in this paper today, is a vote for Labour.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “Hapless Ed Miliband, incredibly, took another stride towards power yesterday.” – Sun on Sunday editorial (£)
  • “Ukip’s sideshow only helps Ed Miliband.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • “Even after the triumphant unveiling of Mark Reckless as a second defector from Cameron’s backbenches, the feeling is that they’ve wrung all they can out of the southern Tory vote — and northern Tories will not vote Ukip, treating the party with camp and aloof disdain.” – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times (£)
  • “If Cameron manages to stifle the noises off-stage and produce a quietly confident Conservative conference it should be enough to convince the smart money that victory in May is his to lose, rather than Miliband’s to presume.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “The Reckless defection is a test of Cameron’s nerve. It is much more important that he addresses head on the Labour leader’s bid last week to annex his favourite slogan, ‘we’re all in this together’.” – Matthew d’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Mark Reckless’s decision to defect to Ukip on the eve of the Tory conference was an act of malice.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

UKIP 3) Lord Ashcroft reveals why Tories are turning to UKIP

ASHCROFT blue shirt“Just over a quarter of those who voted Conservative in 2010 said they would vote for a different party in an election tomorrow. … Nearly three-quarters of these now support Ukip, with most of the remainder going to Labour. … These ‘defectors’ had various complaints: the cost of living, lack of progress on immigration, stagnant pay, welfare reforms that had left them worse off. (There were also some bitter complaints about Michael Gove, the former education secretary, but these came without exception from teachers and their relatives.)” – Lord Ashcroft, Sunday Times (£)

Brooks Newmark resigns over explicit photos

Brooks NewmarkTory minister Brooks Newmark announced his resignation tonight – after exchanging X-rated pictures with an undercover reporter posing as a young female activist. … Married father-of-five Brooks Newmark, 56, said he was ‘so sorry’ after the investigation found he had contacted the freelance female reporter online before swapping sexually explicit images. … The new Minister for Civil Society, who co-founded the campaign group Women2Win, initiated a private message conversation on a social networking site and as part of a series of exchanges sent a graphic picture exposing himself while wearing a pair of paisley pyjamas.” – Sunday Mirror

  • “One Conservative MP said the fiascos had ‘eerie echoes’ of the collapse of John Major’s government in a welter of sleaze and defections in the run-up to Tony Blair’s 1997 victory.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “That social media was super-rich Brooks Newmark’s undoing should come as no surprise: Just two years ago he became the first MP to be sacked for his obsession with tweeting.” – Mail on Sunday

British planes begin their campaign against ISIS

Fighter jet“The first day of ‘Gulf War Three’, the first British combat missions over Iraq for six years, involved Tornados bristling with sophisticated weaponry flying in support of Iraqi troops engaging IS terrorists in trench warfare below. … Defence sources conceded last night that neither of the Tornados in the first wave engaged the enemy and both jets returned to RAF Akrotiri with their full payloads of rockets and ammunition intact – highlighting growing concern over whether Britain is pulling its weight in the coalition arrayed against IS. … The MoS understands that yesterday’s first mission was conducted by No 2 Squadron RAF and followed a request for air support received on Friday evening – only a few hours after MPs voted by an overwhelming majority of 524 votes to 43 to endorse attacks on the militants in Iraq.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A former head of the UK military warned this weekend that Isis, also known as Islamic State, will never be defeated by air attacks alone and western governments are wrong to rule out deploying their own ground troops.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Disillusioned British jihadists in Syria and Iraq have told their families they are ‘trapped’ and fear being killed by western airstrikes, or beheaded if they try to flee Isis ranks.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “They whooped with joy, they said, when the Commons voted in favour of air strikes.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “British forces have been rehearsing surprise airborne assaults which could be used to rescue British hostages from their Islamic State captors.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Harriet Harman was mocked last night for calling on David Cameron to let her know every time RAF jets took off to bomb Islamist militants in Iraq.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “John Prescott has become the most senior British politician to openly criticise parliament’s decision to take military action again in the Middle East.” – The Observer
  • “Anti-war protesters condemned the Government’s decision to launch RAF air strikes to defeat terrorist group Islamic State and called for a national demonstration later this week.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Gulf states that allow funding to be passed to terrorist groups must face international sanctions, the former foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, warns.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“It will take more than missiles to beat Isis.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “No one doubts that all kinds of problems lie ahead as British bombs rain down on Iraq once again. But it was the right and moral thing to do.” – Observer editorial
  • “It was impossible to tolerate the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant any longer.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • “We are not opposed to air strikes. The important thing is the difficult, unglamorous work of negotiation.” – Independent on Sunday editorial
  • “What changed then to make so many, myself included, who were viscerally opposed last year support intervention this time? … the moral case for action and our national interest combined with a sense that we should not contract out this fight to others.” – Sarah Wollaston, The Observer
  • “Based on conversations with people from eastern Syria, including Isis members and sympathisers, the offensive against Isis seems to have already achieved one thing for the jihadi group: to push some Isis members who were on the periphery into their core, and neutralise some of their Islamist opponents.” – Hassan Hassan, The Observer
  • “Dragged into a war by clowns who can’t even run a railway.” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “Without knowing what victory will look like, have we embarked on a war we cannot win?” – Mark Almond, Mail on Sunday
  • “Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis.” – Patrick Cockburn, Independent on Sunday
  • “Get the politics right, then the plan for the military might work.” – Richard Williams, Independent on Sunday
  • “We’ve counted all the Tornados out. We’ll count terrorists back in.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Cameron admits: I may have resigned had Scotland voted Yes

CAMERON Marr Europe“Mr Cameron admits he would have come under unbearable pressure to go had the Scots voted to break away. … He confessed: ‘I thought about resigning because I care so passionately about this issue. … If the vote had been for Scotland to have left the UK, I genuinely would have been heartbroken. I would have felt winded and wounded. … Emotionally, one would have thought, “I’m so saddened by this. I find it difficult to go on”.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Osborne gets personal with the Mail on Sunday – and sets out plans to lower the benefits cap

Conference 4“During his extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Osborne set out radical plans to abolish the dole for under 21s and cut the maximum state benefits from £26,000 per household to £23,000, explained why he thinks Ed Miliband is not fit to run the country – and why Tories should not be taken in by Nigel Farage. … But it is more intimate matters that we discuss first. It is impossible not to notice his dramatic weight loss. He is a real skinny malink. ‘Am I?’ he says, modestly patting his slim line waist.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Radical plans to ban young people getting the dole and slash the maximum amount of state benefits per household by £60 a week will be introduced if the Tories win next year’s General Election. … George Osborne plans to use the savings to pay for three million apprenticeships for young workers and end youth unemployment.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Mr Cameron told The Sun on Sunday: ‘We want to make sure young people are earning or learning and end the situation where they can finish school, leave home, sign on and get a flat with housing benefit too.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Mr Osborne’s pledges show that the Conservatives are, as they should be, on the side of hard-working taxpayers. … But the Conservatives need to follow up these strong proposals with others – on immigration and Europe.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “The Conservatives need to make it clear once more that there is nothing callous or immoral about encouraging self-reliance.” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Worried top Tories have drawn up a secret Cost Of Living crib sheet for Cabinet ministers and MPs ‘likely to be interviewed’ during their conference, which begins today in Birmingham.” – Guido Fawkes, Sun on Sunday (£)

Grayling moves to curb the power of the ECHR

Grayling470“Ministers will act this week to curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights. … A law change drawn up by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will ensure the UK’s Supreme Court has final say — and stop Strasbourg judges imposing barmy rulings on Britain. … Mr Grayling has grown exasperated by a string of ECHR rulings which he says have ‘distorted’ human rights.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Grayling, as Justice Secretary, should keep demanding justice — for the quiet majority in England.” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “For business, Britain and Europe really are better together.” – Katie Allen, The Observer

“The next Birmingham, but even worse” – Governmment concern about schools in London

School“As many as a dozen schools in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets face investigation after claims they have fallen under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists. … According to government sources, officials at the Department for Education are concerned that the situation may be worse than that uncovered in the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal earlier this year, in which Islamic fundamentalists attempted to infiltrate secular schools in Birmingham. … ‘Tower Hamlets is expected to be the next Birmingham, but even worse, because the problems surrounding Muslim fundamentalists imposing their views on education seem to be more embedded,’ said a senior Whitehall source.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Girls and boys learn better when taught together in mixed classrooms rather than at single-sex schools, according to Sir Michael Wilshaw.” – Sunday Times (£)

Zahawi calls for caution

“A key ally of David Cameron and polling expert has warned that the Conservative Party cannot start ‘high-fiving’ about its general-election prospects, despite Ed Miliband’s faltering performance at Labour’s conference last week. … Nadhim Zahawi, a member of the No 10 policy board and founder of the polling company YouGov, says MPs and activists gathering for their party conference in Birmingham must resist being jubilant about economic growth and the Labour leader’s failure to mention the deficit in his speech.” – Independent on Sunday

Read the Independent on Sunday’s interview with Nadhim Zahawi in full

Mitchell among those being sent a letter from HMRC

Tax Take“David Beckham, cricketer David Gower and Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell are among those set to receive tax demands totalling millions of pounds after investing in potential tax avoidance projects. … HM Revenue & Customs is understood to have been sending out letters to investors in film finance schemes set up by Ingenious Media. … This is despite the fact the schemes are still being disputed, with a judgment on whether they are legitimate not due until November.” – Mail on Sunday

Heseltine says the Tories must change to reconnect with the North

“‘Of course, I find this deeply depressing,’ he says. ‘We used to run all these cities.’ Now the Tories have not a single councillor in Manchester. Nor in Newcastle, Liverpool or Sheffield. These cities are rinsed of blues, Tory-free zones.’ … Today his advice to David Cameron is pretty blunt: ‘You’ve got to change the policies and change the language.’ Addressing social deprivation is ‘what a one-nation Conservative should be about’.” – The Observer

Baroness Brady lays into the two Eds

“Gutsy as well as glamorous, she has little time for Labour’s leaders and is utterly scathing about their recent performances at their party conference. … ‘Bottom line is that Labour has not changed, they would take Britain backwards again. In my view Ed Miliband just isn’t up to it.’ … And don’t get her started on the subject of Ed Balls. … ‘He made an extraordinarily poor conference speech,’ she says. ‘He has no plan for the economy.’” – Mail on Sunday

Labour’s mansion tax could cost the Queen £1 million a year

MILIBAND Red Ed“The Queen could be slapped with a £1million tax bill every year if Labour’s proposed ‘mansion tax’ comes into force. … The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Anna and the Duchess of Cornwall could also be hit by hefty bills by the tax, which would target everyone with a home worth more than £2million. … The likes of Buckingham Palace would not be taxed – as it is technically owned by the state – but Balmoral castle and Sandringham House would still leave the Queen with huge amounts to pay.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Labour’s proposed mansion tax would devastate the entire property market, sending values of all homes plummeting by up to 30 per cent, property experts warn.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “A Labout party grandee has pocketed a £43m profit from the sale of his London house — and saved himself nearly £144,000 a year in potential mansion tax in the event that his party comes to power.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Labour’s lead has fallen sharply to only two points following Ed Miliband’s party conference speech in which he failed to mention the deficit, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll.” – The Observer

Andrew Rawsley: Labour are playing like a football team hoping to win 1-0

“Among solid Labour voters, the party’s appeal is strong enough to compensate for the anxieties about its leader. If you were a Labour voter before he stood up, his prospectus for a Miliband Britain was probably sufficiently convincing for you to remain a Labour voter by the time he sat down. What the speech lacked was any serious attempt to reach out to the unconverted. If you were a voter willing to consider Labour but not yet convinced, your doubts were not addressed by this speech.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

  • “This is not about slick PR, but having a leader people can believe in. Miliband’s advisers (if he listens to them any more) should tell him to be himself.” – Jane Merrick, Independent on Sunday

Women don’t really care for any of the party leaders

ballot_box“Would you vote for Boris Johnson if he ran the Labour party? Or Basil Brush if he was on the ballot paper? According to an in-depth study of voting intentions in the runup to the 2015 general election, a lot of women out there would prefer either candidate to the current party leaders. … A key theme of the study was that none of the four UK-wide party leaders – David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage – was impressing female voters. Typical responses from women were to reject Miliband as ‘ineffectual and weak’, Cameron as ‘uncaring’, Clegg for ‘lacking in integrity’ and Farage as a ‘waste of space’.” – The Observer

  • “Our political leaders need something special: it’s called authenticity.” – Anushka Asthana, The Observer
  • “There is no trust in this contest of negatives.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

The Tories and Labour make progress on devolution agreement…

“The outline of a more-powers deal between Labour and the Tories that would see Holyrood take full control over income tax as well as key welfare responsibilities is beginning to emerge, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. … A blueprint that combines the income tax plans of the Conservatives with Labour’s proposals on welfare is now up for discussion as Lord Smith of Kelvin prepares to chair discussions between Scotland’s political parties.” – Scotland on Sunday

…as Sturgeon discusses the prospect of another Scottish referendum…

Scottish flag“Events, however, may propel Scotland towards another referendum sooner rather than later without any nudge from the SNP. If Westminster substantively reneged on the spirit of the Gordon Brown pledge, under pressure from Ukip-threatened fragile Tories, then this would lead to “a very, very angry reaction in Scotland”, according to Sturgeon. And if that were then followed by a yes vote to leave the European Union while Scots voted no, then wouldn’t there in effect be a responsibility to include another referendum on the manifesto for Holyrood elections in 2016?” – The Observer

  • “A cross-party group of MSPs has called for legal quotas to ensure 50/50 representation of women at Holyrood and across Scottish public life.” – Scotland on Sunday

…and Plaid Cymru’s leader says that Wales must get the same powers as Scotland

“The Welsh Assembly must be given the same new powers as the Scottish Parliament if Wales ever wants to be more than a ‘spectator’ in the United Kingdom, the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, warns. … The socialist, republican and pro-Welsh independence party leader says, the Welsh face domination by an ‘increasingly right-wing England’, unless they fight for the same level of devolution as Scotland.” – Independent on Sunday

Camilla Cavendish: The NHS needs saving from politicians

NHS“It is almost obligatory for political parties to say they want to ‘save’ the NHS. Ed Miliband said it on Wednesday when he made it clear that Labour will make the NHS the centrepiece of its general-election pitch, and Nigel Farage joined in with his own version on Friday. But save it from what? … The health service faces a host of challenges — an ageing population, increases in dementia and diabetes cases, PFI debt, rising public expectations and low staff morale. When politicians say the greatest threat to the NHS is ‘the other lot’, you wonder if what the NHS most needs saving from is politicians.” – Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)

  • “Patients with eye cancer have revealed how they are being forced to seek private treatment or risk dying while waiting for treatment on the NHS.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Up to 40 families have been investigated by child protection officers because they disagreed with doctors about the diagnosis and treatment of children with myalgic encephalopathy (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a leading paediatrician.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Health experts are reporting disturbing increases in the number of people being diagnosed late with the HIV virus in England.” – Independent on Sunday

Crewe will be part of the HS2 route

“The second phase of the railway should run through Crewe rather than Stoke-on-Trent, the chairman of HS2, Sir David Higgins, will confirm next month. … Only about 12 miles apart, Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent have been engaged in a fierce competition over where a major station along the Y-shaped and second northerly section of the high-speed route should be located.” – Independent on Sunday

Television Centre is handed over to the developers

BBC logo“…on Saturday the corporation carefully removed the huge letters from the wall, turned off Television Centre’s broadcast signal and officially handed over its former west London headquarters to developers six months ahead of schedule. It marked the end of an era for a building familiar to generations of television viewers. … Stanhope will build around 950 new homes on the 14-acre site – to be known from now on just as Television Centre – along with a new branch of members’ club Soho House, plus offices, restaurants, cafes and shops.” – The Observer

Baby Elizabeth Diana?

“Prince William and Kate are expected to name their new baby after his mother Diana if it’s a girl. … They will call a daughter Elizabeth Diana Windsor, The Sun on Sunday can reveal. … William and Kate have spent hours deliberating over the decision, according to Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton. … He said: ‘Close friends to William and Kate have told me that if it is a girl they want to name the baby after Diana.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

News in brief

  • Bishop quits over love affairs – Mail on Sunday
  • One in five single mothers fall into poverty after a break-up, claims new research – Mail on Sunday
  • Berners-Lee calls for Internet Bill of Rights to ensure greater privacy – The Observer
  • Catalans declare an independence referendum – The Observer
  • One of Britain’s “most wanted” caught whilst playing poker in Spain – Independent on Sunday
  • Fifa corruption report to remain secret – Sunday Times (£)
  • George Clooney marries Amal Alamuddin in Venice – The Sun (£)

And finally 1) Clegg in fairyland

CLEGG Bird“Today we are offered a brief glimpse of domestic life with the Cleggs. The formidable Miriam Clegg has revealed that she and Nick take it in turns to read bedtime stories to their children. … If the children are too excited to sleep, a few pages of the next Lib Dem manifesto should do the trick. A hopelessly unconvincing ending though: ‘And we pledge that the voters will all live happily ever after.'” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

And finally 2) No, Minister

“The power struggle between the politician Jim Hacker and his scheming permanent secretary Humphrey Appleby in Yes Minister was comedy gold. … Now a book has revealed that the rivalry between the actors off screen was every bit as intense — and a good deal more serious. … Although Paul Eddington, who played Hacker, and Nigel Hawthorne, who was Appleby, were outwardly friendly, their relationship was strained by tension and jealousy.” – Sunday Times (£)