ISIS 1) Cameron recalls Parliament to vote on air strikes…

Cameron1“David Cameron last night urged Britain to shake off the spectre of the Iraq war and back potentially years of RAF strikes against the ‘psychopathic murderers’ of Islamic State. … MPs have been scrambled for an emergency recall of Parliament tomorrow to sanction bombing raids on terrorist positions in northern Iraq. … All three party leaders indicated support for air strikes, and the attacks are expected to begin as early as tomorrow night. … But the Prime Minister said the fight against Islamic terrorism could last for years. … Mr Cameron, who last night held talks with Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi to finalise military plans, stressed that British troops would not be sent back to Iraq.” – Daily Mail

  • “Amid the dallying, frustration among Britain’s military chiefs has grown. They are sensitive to what the chief of the defence staff, Sir Nicholas Houghton in December called a ‘creeping aversion to risk’ and the chief of the general staff, Sir Peter Wall in March termed ‘moral disarmament.'” – Financial Times
  • “Airstrikes from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates struck ISIS oil refineries in Syria, according to military officials.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “While other nations aim to cut off the snake’s head in its Syrian strongholds, David Cameron is obsessed with procedure.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “We must play our part in the fight against Isis.” – Independent editorial
  • “President Obama has a strategy for the defeat of Islamic State, but neither he nor his allies may have the resolve to see it through.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “We won’t defeat IS using air power alone.” – Major General Tim Cross, The Sun (£)
  • “For all Isis’s undoubted evil, I say No to UK air strikes.” – Andreas Whittam Smith, The Independent
  • “Air strikes play into the hands of Saudi-inspired jihadists.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – The Commons must ask some hard questions tomorrow about bombing Iraq

ISIS 2) …and holds talks with the Iranian President

“David Cameron today held an extraordinary meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to seek help in defeating ISIS militants. … It is the first face-to-face talks for 35 years between the leaders of the two countries which have been at loggerheads over Tehran’s nuclear policy. … However, Mr Cameron made clear that a global alliance is needed to tackle the rise of ISIS, as he prepares to recall Parliament on Friday for a vote on RAF air strikes in Iraq.” – Daily Mail

ISIS 3) Teenage British jihadi among those killed by US bombs, according to reports

ISIS“A GCSE pupil who quit his studies to wage jihad in Syria has been killed by the US air strikes, it emerged last night. Ibrahim Kamara, 19, and four others are the first Britons to die in the attacks. … His mother, Khadijah, 35, said he had secretly travelled to the war-torn country and she felt ‘numb’ that he was dead. … The Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports of the dead Britons but could not confirm them at this stage.” – Daily Mail

  • “President Barack Obama called on Wednesday for the Muslim world to embark on a ‘generational task’ of confronting the ‘cancer of violent extremism’ as the US and its allies conducted a new round of air strikes in Syria.” – Financial Times
  • “ISIS-linked militants in Algeria have beheaded a French hostage captured at the weekend – having earlier made threats to kill him if France did not stop bombing targets in Iraq.” – Daily Mail
  • “British Muslims most at risk of radicalisation are those whose families have the strongest links to the UK, new research claims.” – Daily Mail
  • “A mystery woman has covertly provided the world with a rare glimpse of life in the heartland of the Islamic State using a camera concealed beneath her niqab.” – Daily Mail

ISIS 4) Hammond says that British intelligence is closing in on Jihadi John

Philip Hammond looking left“Philip Hammond has claimed intelligence agencies are ‘getting warm’ in the investigation to reveal the identity of the Islamic State (Isis) militant known as Jihadi John. … Officials have claimed Britain is ‘close’ to identifying the terrorist for a month but no identity has been released. … Speaking to CNN at the United Nations summit in New York, the Foreign Secretary claimed the net was closing in.” – The Independent

  • “I think it denies dignity to the murdered man for me to witness his death and I feel it must hurt the family of a murder victim to know that so many people have seen it happen.” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

May vows not to allow Qatada back into Britain

“Theresa May yesterday vowed that hate preacher Abu Qatada will not be allowed back into Britain after he was cleared of terror offences in Jordan. … The Home Secretary insisted the UK will remain closed to the Al Qaeda-linked extremist, who was deported after a decade-long battle costing up to £1million. … Her pledge came minutes after judges in Jordan acquitted the cleric of involvement in plotting atrocities in his home country on the grounds of ‘insufficient evidence’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Theresa May has called on British Muslim women to challenge extremism in their communities, in the fight against the Islamic State.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “A 37-year-old living in London accused of plotting to murder British and American forces in Iraq with roadside bombs in 2007 is to appear in court.” – Daily Mail
  • “A British-Pakistani man is wanted for questioning over an alleged £1bn fraud in Italy that is suspected to have been used to fund Middle Eastern terror groups.” – The Independent

Fox: The West has been “serially weak”

FOX Liam blue background“Have we been foolish over Putin? ‘We’ve been weak. Serially weak. This is not a short-term crisis. This has been in the making. He cut off Ukraine’s gas. We did nothing. He launched a cyber attack on Estonia. We did nothing. He invaded Georgia where his troops remain to this day. When I was defence secretary, I wasn’t allowed by the Foreign Office to describe the Russian troops in Georgia as an occupation. … Well, I’m sorry, but that is what it is.'” – Liam Fox is interviewed in The Times (£)

  • “The Kremlin’s voice will grow more powerful in Russia and beyond after the government boosted funding for its international propaganda channels and MPs voted to restrict foreign ownership of its media.” – The Times (£)

Coalition of europhiles urges the Prime Minister not to hold an EU referendum

EU Exit“David Cameron should learn lessons from Scotland and abandon his gamble to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, senior politicians and business leaders warn today. … On the eve of the Ukip conference in Doncaster, five former cabinet ministers, the president of the Confederation of British Industry and the chairman of BAE Systems, among others, say a referendum on Europe would cause ‘considerable uncertainty’ and ‘great political risk for the UK in the coming years’. … The signatories include the politicians Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy, Lord Mandelson, Alan Johnson and Caroline Spelman.” – The Independent

  • “Leaving the European Union would boost Britain’s economy by £10 billion, according to an American think-tank.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Can David Cameron get away with another ill-advised referendum?” – Independent editorial

> Today: Syed Kamall MEP on MPsETC – Next week’s Commissioner hearings show how the ECR group has given us more leverage

Cameron’s apology to the Queen

“David Cameron has issued a humbling apology to the Queen for letting slip her ecstatic reaction to the Scottish referendum result. … The Prime Minister said he was ‘very embarrassed’ and ‘extremely sorry’ to have revealed the Queen’s private views during a conversation he did not know was being picked up by microphones. … His public apology to the monarch is thought to be without precedent for a serving premier. He said he would be following it up with a personal phone call.” – Daily Mail

  • “A guest on BBC radio made an ‘outrageous’ joke live on air suggesting there should be a referendum to decide whether the Queen should be beheaded.” – Daily Mail

Government to introduce a new GCSE in cooking and nutrition

School“A new GCSE in cooking and nutrition will be launched in a drive to boost the nation’s skills in the kitchen. … The course will place a strong emphasis on practical cooking techniques in contrast to current food-related GCSEs which require candidates to complete tasks such as designing food packaging. … The Government has already made cooking and food education compulsory for pupils aged five to 14 in a new national curriculum being implemented this term.” – Daily Mail

  • “A Muslim teenager who was banned from taking A-levels at a leading comprehensive because she started to wear a niqab has moved schools.” – Daily Mail
  • “Children are losing up to 38 days of teaching each year because heads and teachers are failing to tackle widespread disruptive behaviour, a devastating Ofsted inquiry reveals today.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Education, not the veil, must come first in schools.” – Maajid Nawaz, The Times (£)

Truss on the decline of British apples

“Environment Secretary Liz Truss has blamed the demise of the British apple – on Angel Delight. … The Minister said too many Brits had opted for easily made desserts rather than making an apple crumble. … And she urged shoppers to give British apples such as the humble Bramley a chance, rather than buying foreign alternatives. … Britain produced 416,200 tonnes of apples 25 years ago, but this has more than halved to 202,900.” – The Sun (£)

Two more Tory MPs are ready to defect, suggests UKIP party secretary

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“Senior Ukip figures are claiming two more Tory MPs are ‘in the bag’ and will be unveiled as defectors within days. … To the alarm of Conservative HQ, Ukip party secretary Matthew Richardson has boasted privately that two turncoats have agreed to switch parties, according to two separate sources. … Mr Richardson has told colleagues an announcement could be made as early as Ukip’s conference, which opens today in Doncaster. … One potential defector is said to be a Tory MP who is to stand down at next year’s general election and would sit for Ukip for the next seven months. The other is said to be a Tory currently planning to run again in 2015.” – Daily Mail

  • “Labour has stepped up its attacks on Ukip, amid mounting fears they could lose to them in a crunch by-election next month. … In a major broadside, Labour attack dog Michael Dugher said the Eurosceptic party was ‘more Tory than the Tories’.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has said that the anti-EU Ukip represents a ‘clear and present danger’ at next year’s General Election as he warned that Nigel Farage’s party could eat into Labour support in Scotland in the way the SNP has done.” – The Scotsman
  • “The spirit of Nigel Farage has infused the Lancashire town of Heywood.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Ukip will almost certainly win at least one of next month’s by-elections, and, in time, other seats too. But this isn’t about any one political party, it’s about the tectonic plates beneath the party system shifting. The future is fragmentation.” – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – The worst fault of the Westminster elite is that it is not elitist enough

Cable attacks Osborne’s lending scheme

“Efforts to force banks to increase lending to struggling small firms have failed, Vince Cable admitted yesterday. … In an astonishing attack on one of George Osborne’s flagship policies to boost the economy, the Business Secretary claimed the ‘route of using big institutions didn’t work’ and said there was still a ‘lot of frustration with the big banks’. … Singling out state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, he said that five years after the financial crisis small companies are still being starved of cash by lenders which were bailed out by British taxpayers.” – Daily Mail

  • “MPs have launched an inquiry into claims that Royal Mail will struggle to fulfil its obligation to deliver to every address in the country six days a week for the same price due to intense competition in profitable areas.” – The Guardian
  • “The average interest rate on an easy-access ISA account has fallen to a record low.” – Daily Mail

Hughes calls for review into children’s access to legal aid

HUGHES Simon“The family justice minister Simon Hughes has called for an urgent review of legal aid cuts in a move that publicly signals Liberal Democrat unease over the impact of coalition austerity policies. … His comments, clearly aimed at differentiating Liberal Democrat priorities from those of their Conservative coalition partners, follows publication of a scathing report on Wednesday by the children’s commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson.” – The Guardian

  • “Happily, Clegg senior is still happy to help his son out. According to the latest Register of Members’ Interests, the leader of the Liberal Democrats received a £5,000 donation from the banker last month.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour conference 1) Cooper targets the National Crime Agency

“The Government’s flagship anti-crime agency is failing to investigate up to 25,000 paedophiles suspected of downloading child pornography, Yvette Cooper said today. … The shadow home secretary said the National Crime Agency has details of the suspects but lacks the resources to investigate them all. … She told Labour Party conference in Manchester the lack of action could leave children at risk.” – Daily Mail

  • “An investigation into child abuse allegations against a prominent politician 25 years ago was blocked, one of the country’s most senior police officers has revealed.” – The Times (£)
  • “A generation of youngsters is growing up without their achievements being publicly celebrated due to irrational child abuse fears, a schools leader has warned.” – Daily Mail

Labour conference 2) Burnham cheers the party faithful by criticising privatisation…

Andy Burnham“Andy Burnham roused deflated Labour activists yesterday with a pledge to put the brakes on healthcare privatisation – despite a warning from the head of the NHS that it would be impossible. … A day after Ed Miliband’s lacklustre speech to his party’s conference, the shadow health secretary received a series of standing ovations as he promised a ‘rescue plan for a shattered service’. … But it emerged yesterday that NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens had thrown a spanner in the works by writing to Mr Burnham to dismiss Labour’s call to block all new contracts between hospitals and the private sector.” – Daily Mail

  • “Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned Mr Burnham. … He said: ‘Once again at Labour conference the most important part of a speech was forgotten – Andy Burnham failed to apologise for, or even mention, the tragic events at Mid Staffs.'” – The Sun (£)
  • “Labour’s proposed NHS reforms would be disruptive, distracting and destructive, GP leaders said last night.” – The Times (£)
  • “A 91-year-old writer and campaigner was hailed as the Labour conference star speaker as he brought delegates to tears with recollections of poverty and premature death before the creation of the National Health Service.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “Mr Burnham, in particular, was shameless – sparklingly so. He even made a ‘more! more!’ gesture with his fingertips when they gave him a long ovation.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Good plan, Mr Burnham, but now we need the detail.” – Guardian editorial

Labour conference 3) …as de Blasio tells them that they will win

“Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, received a standing ovation at Labour’s annual conference as he rallied the party’s frayed morale with the words they wanted to hear: ‘You will win.’ … In an enthusiastically received speech at the end of the Manchester conference the Democratic politician made direct parallels between the US and the UK as he tried to stiffen the resolve of Labour delegates, some of whom lack conviction they will beat the Conservatives in next May’s general election.” – Financial Times

  • “The mayor of New York is not a good role model for Labour.” – Times editorial (£)

Labour conference 4) More consternation about the mansion tax

House icon“As the planned levy on homes worth more than £2million was hit by a new backlash, it emerged that elderly homeowners who do not have the income to pay up front could defer the tax until their death. … It would mean that their families could be faced with bills running to tens of thousands of pounds. … Only a tiny number of people are expected to be exempted from the tax which, it is feared, could hit the so-called ‘asset-rich, cash-poor’ homeowners who live in properties whose value has soared in recent years but do not have the ready money to pay the levy.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Balls had promised that the asset-rich but cash-poor would be protected from the tax, but it emerged yesterday that 99 per cent of people living in homes worth more than £2 million are expected to pay the levy under a Labour government.” – The Times (£)
  • “More than 250,000 homeowners were warned last night that they will have to get their properties valued if Labour is elected next year, under draconian plans for a ‘mansion tax’ unveiled by Ed Miliband.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “A British property tax that is fit for purpose.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “his policy does not make fiscal, economic or moral sense.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Ed’s mansion tax isn’t just vindictive, it’s wildly impractical – and he knows it.” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • “Middle class? You’ll be ruined by a mansion tax.” – Janice Turner, The Times (£)
  • “Ed Miliband’s mansion tax is not just an issue for southern toffs.” – Clive Aslet, Daily Telegraph

> Today: The Deep End – Should Red Ed have gone for a sugar tax instead?

> Yesterday: Natalie Elphicke on Comment – The dangers of Miliband’s Mansion Tax

Labour conference 5) Miliband regrets not mentioning the deficit

Miliband coffee“As Shadow Cabinet ministers made little attempt to defend his performance – with one calling it ‘the worst speech by a Labour leader I have ever seen’ – Mr Miliband said the embarrassing omission was ‘one of the perils’ of speaking without notes. … ‘If I did the speech again today, I would do it differently,’ he said. … Party sources said Mr Miliband had repeatedly been warned not to attempt another ‘no notes’ address, having successfully pulled one off last year. … ‘He wouldn’t listen,’ said one source.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Miliband has found himself in the odd position of being criticised by Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, for a ‘glaring omission’ after forgetting to mention the fiscal deficit in his conference speech at Manchester.” – The Guardian
  • “The ‘ordinary girl’ who inspired Ed Miliband’s speech is a toff who attended the same £15,000-a-year school as Samantha Cameron.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Labour has been accused of forcing a group of disabled delegates to give up their front-row seats for Ed Miliband’s speech to make way for ‘bright young things’ in ‘party suits’.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Ed wouldn’t say the D-word. The Tories must.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • “UK business has well and truly fallen out of love with Labour.” – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • “And Tom said: ‘The trouble with politicians is they never listen. Don’t you agree?’ … And I said: ‘Well, it’s been lovely chatting to you, Tom.’” – Ed Miliband’s speech, as told to Craig Brown in the Daily Mail
  • “Repeat after me, Ed: ‘I forgot to say how I would mend the UK’” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “Miliband can fudge foreign policy now, but not as PM.” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • “This week Labour looked and sounded like a tired, defeated party. … It is incredible to think Britain could almost accidentally put them in power for five years next May.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Ed Miliband fails to present a blueprint for Britain.” – Financial Times editorial

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – Today’s front pages paint a depressing picture for Miliband

The Labour leader declines to wear a Help for Heroes wristband

“Ed Miliband has refused to support a charity campaign for wounded troops — for fear of offending Labour lefties. … While all three leaders of the other main parties backed Help for Heroes’ new fundraising push, he turned down four requests from The Sun to wear one of the charity’s new ‘Friend’ wristbands. … Mr Miliband’s private refusals came as he publicly gave Labour backing to air strikes in Iraq.” – The Sun (£)

  • “A rapping soldier was sent home from Afghanistan for criticising the government in a hit viral Facebook video – sparking a storm of protest online.” – The Sun (£)

The Greens want to be included in any TV debates

“The Green party is pressing broadcasters to ensure its leader, Natalie Bennett, is included in any TV election debate alongside David Cameron, Ed Miliband and others. … The move comes amid a surge of new popular support, particularly in Scotland, where a previously tiny membership has more than trebled since last week’s vote on independence. Being at the top TV table is seen as a way of cementing the electoral status it feels it deserves.” – The Guardian

Sturgeon launches her campaign to succeed Salmond – by threatening another referendum

Scottish flag“Nicola Sturgeon launched her campaign to succeed her boss Alex Salmond as Scotland’s next first minister, pledging to win more powers from London and declaring she was ‘more convinced than ever’ her country would one day be independent. … Currently Scotland’s deputy first minister, Ms Sturgeon is considered an easy favourite to replace Mr Salmond when he steps down next month as head of the Scottish National party. The first minister decided to resign after losing last week’s referendum on Scottish independence.” – Financial Times

“Scots could be asked to vote in another, quick-fire referendum on independence if new powers promised to Scotland are not delivered, Nicola Sturgeon warned yesterday at the launch of her bid to become SNP leader and First Minister.” – The Scotsman

  • “Alex Salmond has been urged to let go of ‘conspiracy theories’ about why Scotland did not vote for independence and accept that he lost the referendum.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “If any New Labour nostalgic still had the idea that its core vote had nowhere else to go, Scotland has surely demolished it for good.” – Seumas Milne, The Guardian
  • “Post-referendum, English nationalism is the elephant in the room.” – Suzanne Moore, The Guardian
  • “Why English votes for English laws is a kneejerk absurdity.” – Vernon Bogdanor, The Guardian
  • “Labour ignores the English question at its peril.” – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Police admit: Alice Gross suspect cannot be arrested if he has left the country

“Police searching for the prime suspect in the disappearance of Alice Gross made the extraordinary admission last night that after a two-week manhunt they still have no clues to his whereabouts. … Convicted killer and survival specialist Arnis Zalkalns, 41, vanished days after the 14-year-old schoolgirl and detectives now admit that if he has managed to flee abroad he will be a free man. … The Latvian could not be arrested on the Continent because there is not enough evidence to generate a European Arrest Warrant, police said.” – Daily Mail

Motorists frustrated at the state of Britain’s roads

Pothole“Motorists’ satisfaction with England’s potholed roads has plummeted to a record low. … Fewer than one in three drivers say they are happy with the state of the roads – the lowest level since surveys began in 2008 – and the government’s poor record on repairs is to blame for the abysmal ratings, a damning report by MP watchdogs concludes today. … It condemns as ‘ludicrous’ the Department for Transport’s patch-and-mend ‘piecemeal’ funding. … They say this is making it difficult to maintain England’s road network cost-effectively and is leaving millions of drivers frustrated.” – Daily Mail

  • “Cab drivers blockaded the London’s city centre yesterday in protest against a boom in unlicensed minicabs and rickshaws prowling the streets.” – Daily Mail
  • “Transport for London (TfL) has released a map showing what the night Tube will look like when the Underground begins a 24-hour weekend service in September 2015.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • Middle-aged people are the least happy in the UK – Daily Mail
  • Warren Buffett loses $750 million as Tesco shares fall by 47 per cent in a year – Daily Mail
  • Trinity Mirror to pay compensation to 10 victims of phone hacking – The Guardian
  • Apple withdraws iOS 8 update – The Guardian
  • Branson says employees should decide on their own holiday-time – The Independent
  • The last surviving Mitford sister has died, aged 94 – The Sun (£)
  • Jason Orange departs Take That – The Sun (£)

And finally: Trouble at the care home

“Security guards were deployed to deal with any trouble at an 84-year-old man’s birthday party in a care home. … Great-grandfather Don Robson staged a week-long sit in at Newtown House in Stanhope, County Durham, over the county council’s decision to close the home, insisting he would only leave after his birthday. … The council employed six security guards, described as ‘burly, bouncer-types’ by the Northern Echo newspaper, to ensure the celebration on Wednesday did not get out of hand.” – The Independent