Cameron speaks to Iran as he prepares for air strikes against Islamic State

Cameron1“In a major diplomatic gamble, the Prime Minister will hold talks with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in New York to discuss co-operation over the escalating crisis in neighbouring Iraq. … The talks, due to take place at the United Nations today, are the first of their kind since anti-Western Islamic fundamentalists seized power in Tehran in the 1979 revolution. … Mr Cameron will also meet Barack Obama to finalise plans for British involvement in US-led air strikes against IS fanatics. … MPs could be recalled to Parliament for an emergency session at the end of this week to approve RAF bombing raids.” – Daily Mail

  • “The U.S. and partner nations began launching airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria for the first time Monday night, expanding a military campaign against the militants with a mix of fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from ships in the region.” – Daily Mail
  • “Voter support for Australia’s beefed up security measures against terror threats has delivered strong survey results for Tony Abbott and his Government.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Iran could become an ally in fighting Islamic State, but Britain and the West must stand firm against its nuclear ambitions.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Harnessing the anti-Isis forces will be a similar challenge to the 1916 Arab Revolt against the Turks, in which TE Lawrence played a significant role.” – Graeme Lamb, The Times (£)

The Prime Minister will also make the case for fracking to the UN

“David Cameron will today launch a global push for fracking — and blast rules hampering the green energy revolution. … He will declare that shale gas is vital in tackling climate change and will lash out at unnecessary ‘green tape’. … The PM will raise fears that fracking — blasting water and chemicals into rock to flush out trapped gas — is being held back by legal obstacles when it could be creating jobs and economic growth and keeping down energy bills.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Britain has agreed terms with Brussels to secure approval for billions of pounds of public funding for Hinkley Point, the country’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Climate change is just the latest umbrella under which a myriad disparate left-wing causes have huddled.” – Ross Clark, The Times (£)
  • “The ‘HeForShe’ campaign just launched by the UN has a clear aim: we want to end gender inequality – and to do that we need everyone to be involved. Above all, we want to try to galvanise as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for equality between the sexes.” – Emma Watson, Daily Telegraph

After that Chequers meeting, details of the Tory leadership’s answer to the English Question

England flag“The amount of cash that Scotland gets from the Treasury would be slashed under plans for English home rule, it has emerged. … PM David Cameron said the so-called ‘Barnett Formula’ – which works out how much public funding Scotland receives – should be linked to new tax-raising powers for Holyrood. … Details of the plan emerged after Mr Cameron hosted a summit of senior Tory MPs at Chequers. … Moves to ban Scottish MPs from voting on England-only laws were also backed by those present at the meeting.” – The Sun (£)

  • “English ‘home rule’ will be put at the heart of the Conservatives’ forthcoming election campaign, David Cameron has indicated, amid growing signs that Labour will seek to block a new constitutional agreement for the UK.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “William Hague warned on Monday that the Tories were prepared to take the fight to Labour at next year’s general election on restricting the voting rights of Scottish MPs if no agreement was reached by January on a new UK constitutional settlement.” – The Guardian
  • “…it was announced that Tory and Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers would meet [today] to begin talks on devolving powers to all four nations in the United Kingdom.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “Why a win at Chequers could see David Cameron returning to No 10.” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Labour conference 1) English MPs prepare to revolt against their leadership…

Miliband coffee“Labour leader Ed Miliband tonight faces revolt from his English MPs over his refusal to bar Scottish MPs from voting on policies which only apply south of the border. … Former Cabinet ministers Ben Bradshaw and John Denham have formed a new group dubbed English Labour to challenge the party leadership’s refusal to admit it is ‘unfair’ for Scots to vote on English matters. … Former Culture Secretary Mr Bradshaw told the Western Morning News: ‘Our leadership has to be much clearer that there’s a problem that needs addressing.'” – Daily Mail

  • “Mr Bradshaw was one of eight prominent English MPs – including shadow ministers – 15 senior councilors and assorted party thinkers who met in Committee Room 301 of Manchester Town Hall to plot against Mr Miliband on the tinderbox issue.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Labour heavyweight Michael Dugher has blasted the party for forgetting about Britain’s Sun-reading working-class voters. … The shadow Cabinet Office minster said Labour had to do more to woo blue-collar workers if they want to get back into Downing Street next May.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, has gone further than the Labour leadership in acknowledging that England would have to be part of any new devolution settlement in the UK, after the offer of greater powers to Scotland.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “A question for Labour’s front bench as they torture themselves trying to argue against the simple logic of “English votes ‘for English laws’ in Westminster. … Imagine the Tories had 40 Scottish MPs and you had one. How fast then would you want new rules brought in?” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Labour have to see fairness for all in Union.” – Scotsman editorial
  • “For too long our party has been dominated by a Scottish aristocracy and it’s time the English voice was heard.” – Simon Danczuk, The Sun (£)
  • “The real ‘English question’ that the Labour leader must answer this week is — can he win in England?” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • “The real problem is what it says about Labour’s own confidence. The party is advertising its belief that it cannot win in England.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • “The strange revival of nationalism in global politics.” – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
  • “Labour has lost most of the first three days of its conference to embarrassment and confusion over the question of English votes on English laws.” – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • “Miliband says you can’t have two classes of MP. But we’ve already got that. English MPs are travelling second-class and English voters are stuck in the cattle trucks at the back of the train, while the Scots empty the buffet car of miniature bottles of Bell’s and send the bill to London.” – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

Labour conference 2) …is Harman one of them?

“Ed Miliband faced open revolt over English home rule last night after Labour’s deputy leader called for the issue to be tackled. … Harriet Harman said allowing Scottish MPs to vote on laws that only affect England is an ‘anomaly’ that must be addressed. … After days of the Labour leadership refusing to back the idea, she told LBC Radio: ‘We do have to recognise there’s an anomaly and look at different ways we can address that.’” – Daily Mail

Labour conference 3) Darling continues his fight against Salmond

Scottish flag“Alistair Darling today accused defeated SNP leader Alex Salmond of having ‘lost the plot’ for claiming Scotland could declare independence without a referendum. … The former Better Together chairman said Mr Salmond had not been able to accept last week’s crushing rejection of independence. It came after Mr Salmond claimed ‘a referendum is only one of a number of routes’ to independence. … He added: ‘I just say to Mr Alex Salmond – you lost the argument, you lost the referendum, you’ve lost office, and now you’ve lost the plot.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Balls would be ‘staggered’ if Gordon Brown were to want to become First Minister of Scotland because it is a lesser post than that of Prime Minister.” – The Scotsman
  • “Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has denied she is preparing to announce her resignation after a bruising referendum campaign.” – The Scotsman
  • “Jim Murphy, the shadow development secretary, is resisting senior Labour party colleagues who are urging him to seek the party leadership in Scotland to bolster its presence in the Edinburgh parliament.” – Financial Times
  • “Voters feel that politicians are ‘over-privileged and under-powered,’ Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary admitted on Monday night, as he promised to learn lessons from the bruising Scottish referendum vote.” – The Independent
  • “The Scottish National party is poised to become one of the largest in the UK after Scotland’s pro-independence parties saw a surge in membership after last week’s referendum. … More than 18,000 people joined the party since Thursday, lifting its overall membership to a record level of 43,644.” – The Guardian
  • “Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister, is expected to announce her intention to run for the Scottish National party leadership tomorrow and if she does succeed Alex Salmond, it will mean that the leaders of the three main parties at Holyrood are women.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Whatever Westminster offers Scotland to kiss and make up, it’s likely to make a permanent split more likely, not less.” – Robert Peston, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: Matthew Elliott on Comment – Ten lessons from the Scottish Referendum for people involved in the EU debate

Labour conference 4) Miliband also faces pressure over an EU referendum

EU Flag“Ed Miliband is under increasing pressure to back an in/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership, after a survey showed more Labour supporters are in favour of a vote on Europe than against it. … The thinktank British Future said a referendum was the only way to help Labour regain public trust on immigration, a key issue in the runup to next year’s election and one inextricably linked with Europe following the rise of Ukip. … Polling by YouGov for the thinktank finds that most people (57%) support a referendum on Britain’s EU membership in the next few years, with only 23% opposed. Importantly for Miliband, 45% of Labour supporters back a referendum against just 36% who oppose it.” – The Guardian

  • “Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has said that UK withdrawal from the European Union is the biggest ‘threat to British national prosperity in a generation’ and compared Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan for an in-out referendum on membership of the bloc to the ‘narrow nationalism’ of the SNP.” – The Scotsman

Labour conference 5) But don’t worry, the Labour leader has a ten-year plan

Ed Miliband stare“The Labour leader will use his annual party conference address to set out his ‘ten-year plan’ for what he will call a ‘national mission’. … He will claim that a new mansion tax on expensive homes would raise almost £2billion a year, which could then be ploughed into the health service along with £1billion from other tax rises. … Mr Miliband will also restate his determination to reintroduce a 50p top rate of income tax if he wins the General Election in eight months’ time. … And he will make an audacious attempt to steal Margaret Thatcher’s vision of Britain as a property-owning democracy, setting a target to double the number of first-time buyers to 400,000 a year by 2025.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Miliband is to put the nation’s health at the centre of a 10-year plan for Britain’s future on Tuesday, backing the NHS with funding from a novel windfall tax on the profits of UK tobacco companies and the proceeds of a mansion tax on homes worth more than £2m.” – The Guardian
  • “…conjuring up Communist Party imagery like the five-year plans used by Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung and Russian tyrant Joseph Stalin risks playing into critics’ left wing stereotype of him.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Labour leader Ed Miliband is asking to take a five per cent pay cut now – to show he is serious about cutting back. … The Sun can reveal he has written to the Treasury’s Paymaster General asking him to dock his £132,000 salary by £7,000.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Ed Miliband today publicly snubbed Gordon Brown after thanking every Labour MP who campaigned against Scottish independence – apart from the former Labour leader.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Miliband has excellent ideas – he just needs to make himself more visible” – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • “The Labour leader answers all your plumbing questions.” – as told to Craig Brown in the Daily Mail

> Today: LeftWatch – Exclusive: Ed Miliband’s conference speech

> Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment – Labour back ahead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll

Labour conference 6) And Balls has an unwelcome plan

BALLS Ed Spend can“The Shadow Chancellor told the Labour conference in Manchester that his party would impose a mansion tax on houses worth more than £2million. … Mr Balls used his speech to attempt to rehabilitate Labour’s battered economic credibility by apologising for a string of mistakes in government and ruling out higher borrowing if it won power again. … But the speech was met with silence from delegates. And there was some booing when he said the retirement age would have to rise in future years.” – Daily Mail

  • “Tough talk, but Balls is still addicted to debt.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Yet more evidence that Labour can’t be trusted.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “It angers us that Balls and his like imagine voters are as easily duped as a pre-school child. We can’t believe even conference hall loyalists buy it.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Ed Balls talks about fiscal discipline but it is not yet obvious that Labour means it.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Mr Balls has the top tax-cutting chancellor on the run on the question of who could manage the continuing squeeze more fairly.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Ed Balls gave his big conference speech in front of a backdrop that said simply ‘Labour’s Plan for Britain’s Future’. It did not explain what Labour’s plan might be and nor, with any coherence, did Mr Balls.” – Matthew Engel, Financial Times
  • “Labour lags a mile behind on trust to run the economy. Only a party in a commanding lead could stray much further from the orthodox consensus.” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • “Shadow Chancellor Ed came to us as a worm turned, a splurger reformed, grave.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Labour’s plan to force employers to be biased against middle-class recruits isn’t just lunacy, it’s immoral.” – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Labour conference 7) Umunna urges his party to depart its “comfort zone”

“A senior Labour MP urged the party to get out of its Left-wing ‘comfort zone’ as bitter splits over its direction burst into the open. … In an apparent dig at his boss Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said Labour needed to have a ‘broad appeal’ if it’s to stand any chance of winning the General Election. … He spoke out shortly after Unite general secretary Len McCluskey was given a standing ovation by conference delegates after calling for the return of old-style socialism.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Labour needs to build bridges with business.” – Financial Times editorial

Labour conference 8) Party activists want to dethrone the Red Princes

LABOUR dead rose“Grassroots Labour supporters last night hit out at the party for overlooking working-class candidates to ‘shoehorn’ the sons and daughters of former MPs into safe seats. … Fabian Breckels, a Labour councillor from Bristol, said: ‘We need to tackle the issue of “Red Princes” in the Labour Party – the children of various MPs, Euan Blair and others, getting shoehorned into safe Labour seats because of who their parents are.’” – Daily Mail

Labour conference 9) Election candidate brands Churchill a “racist and white supremacist”

“Winston Churchill was a ‘racist and white supremacist’, a Labour candidate in next year’s general election has claimed. … The war leader’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames today slammed the ‘deeply insulting’ views expressed by Benjamin Whittingham, who is standing for Parliament in the Wyre and Preston North seat. … The Labour candidate made the outburst on Twitter, after it was announced that Churchill would feature on the new £5 note.” – Daily Mail

Labour conference 10) Jokers on the left

“Russell Brand, the comedian and activist, has been crowned the tenth most influential figure on the left in Britain. … JK Rowling, the author, Eddie Izzard, the comedian, and Joey Barton, the footballer, were among stars from outside politics who feature in The Times list of the 100 most powerful left-wingers, which is published today. … Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are back — both squeezing into the top 20 — after failing to make it last year.” – The Times (£)

UKIP’s manifesto will include a pledge to scrap inheritance tax

UKIP logo“The anti-Brussels party is to include a pledge to scrap the 40% death duty on estates in its manifesto for next year’s general election. … Ukip insiders say the annual tax grab from bereaved families, worth around £3.5billion to the Treasury this year, is fundamentally unjust and needs to be got rid of as a matter of principle. … A commitment to sweeping away the hated levy will be a flagship measure in a radical tax-cutting programme that Mr Farage’s ‘People’s Army’ will put to voters in their battle to make a major breakthrough at Westminster. … The bold new policy is to be unveiled at Ukip’s annual conference in Doncaster on Friday.” – Daily Express

Doubts over former Rotherham childcare chief’s evidence to MPs

“Joyce Thacker, the town’s director of children’s services until she resigned on Friday, will be asked to account for an apparent discrepancy between her sworn testimony and documentary records seen by The Times. … The papers reveal that a child-protection body, of which Ms Thacker was an influential member, tried to keep secret the ethnicity of men suspected of grooming and sexually abusing a murdered Rotherham girl, Laura Wilson, because it was worried about the impact on ‘community cohesion’.” – The Times (£)

  • “A nationwide investigation into online paedophilia has netted more than 25,000 people suspected of viewing child abuse images in Britain. … However, the National Crime Agency says that it will never be able to pursue all of those caught up in the inquiry.” – The Times (£)

Criminals across borders: is Europe at fault?

“A British-led scheme to boost the amount of information shared about criminals who move across borders has faced widespread opposition from other European Union countries, The Telegraph can disclose. … Arnis Zalkalns, 41, who served seven years for murdering his wife in Latvia before moving to London, was last week named as the prime suspect in the disappearance of schoolgirl Alice Gross. … In a stark admission, an internal document said officials in some countries do not regard offenders who have moved across borders as a ‘huge problem’.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Criminal gangs have started offering bogus same-sex marriages for £10,000 to get around immigration checks on sham weddings. … They say it is easy for participants to fool officials by claiming to be gay, with one Romanian claiming his gang had fixed many sham same-sex ceremonies.” – Daily Mail

Turn all state schools into academies, recommends Policy Exchange

School“All maintained schools, both primary and secondary, should be converted into academies in the next five years, according to a report by an influential thinktank. More than half (56%) of secondary schools are now academies; among primary schools, the figure is just 11% … Now, however, Policy Exchange, set up by former education secretary Michael Gove, is advocating a mass conversion to academy status, which it says is the best way to equip schools for the challenges ahead.” – The Guardian

  • “Only 52 per cent of children in England have reached a ‘good’ level of development when they move from reception to their first year of school, the data shows.” – Daily Mail
  • “Teenagers who are successful in GCSE maths are failing to achieve good grades in the subject at A-level because they lack proper understanding of algebra and problem solving, according to research.” – Daily Mail
  • “Better-off children drop almost two grades in their GCSEs if they go to schools with large numbers of disadvantaged pupils, a new study showed today.” – Daily Mail

London transport boss warns of riots if fares keep on rising

“London’s transport commissioner has warned the city could face riots again unless more trains and buses are available at affordable fares for the poorest communities. … Many of the poorest communities are no longer based in the inner-city but instead on the outskirts of London, according to Sir Peter Hendy. They rely on buses, whose fares have risen by 50 per cent over the past six year, to get them to work.” – The Independent

  • “Delayed train passengers get better information from Twitter than from rail staff, a report has found.” – Daily Mail

What do Carney’s expense claims add up to?

Mark Carney“The Bank of England has admitted it is ‘running behind’ on publishing the expenses of its £1million governor Mark Carney. … The central bank is due to disclose the expenses of its senior staff for the six months between October 2013 and March 2014 in the coming days. … But, having published the last set of details late, it is now struggling to put the latest claims into the public domain as planned. … The delay is embarrassing for the Bank and Mr Carney who promised to usher in an era of greater transparency when he took over as governor in July last year.” – Daily Mail

  • “Barclays is to be fined £38m for breaching City rules requiring clients’ funds to be kept separate from its own assets, in what is expected to be the largest fine for such an offence.” – The Guardian

Tesco hit by accounting scandal

“Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer and one of its great corporate success stories of the last decade, has been thrown into turmoil after disclosing that it had overstated its first-half profit by £250m. … Four senior executives were suspended and shares in Tesco fell 12 per cent to 203p, their lowest level for 11 years, intensifying pressure on the board of the supermarket group as it issued its third profit warning in three months.” – Financial Times

  • “Tesco’s finance chief quit the supermarket giant with a £1million payoff a week before the accounting scandal that came to light yesterday.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Hilary Mantel hits back at critics of her Thatcher assassination story – The Guardian
  • 2,400 staff set to lose their jobs at Phones 4U – The Guardian
  • Apple sells record 10 million iPhone 6 handsets in first weekend – Financial Times
  • Economic watchdog warns Ireland over its budget – Financial Times
  • Since 2009, 55 per cent of older workers have put back their plans to retire – Daily Mail
  • Rabbi’s car firebombed in Manchester after anti-Israel comments – The Independent
  • Downton Abbey’s viewing figures lowest since 2010 – Daily Telegraph
  • Viewers complain of “constant smutty remarks” in Great British Bake Off – Daily Telegraph