Referendum bill will “light a fire” under the EU, argues Hammond

EU Exit“Britain is “lighting a fire” under the European Union, the foreign secretary boasted yesterday, in a move likely to dismay allies on the Continent. Philip Hammond told MPs that a bill currently before parliament to force a referendum in 2017 would help the renegotiation that has been promised if the Conservatives win outright power next year.” – The Times (£)

  • Cameron asks EU for €800 million to tackle Ebola – Daily Mail
  • Africa’s “political and social fabric” threatened, claims Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph


Janan Ganesh: Osborne taking an ‘enormous’ gamble

“…the Tories are crafting an ambitious offer. Maybe too ambitious. They are standing as fiscal hawks and tax-cutters at the same time. A larger tax-free income allowance, a higher threshold for the higher rate, the abolition of tax on pension bequests, a cut in inheritance tax – all these have been promised or loudly toyed with in recent weeks. And there is still an Autumn Statement and a Budget to come. This is the behaviour of a party with a perfectly healthy mania for re-election, but the gamble is enormous.” – Financial Times

GCSE standards crackdown could close poor schools

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“Rising numbers of secondary schools will face the threat of takeover and even closure following the introduction of tougher GCSE exam standards, it has been revealed. Official figures released next week are expected to show a decline in the number of pupils gaining at least five good grades after a series of key changes to the results system.” – Daily Mail

  • Nobody should need to send their children to private school, claims Cameron – Daily Mail
  • The first Tory PM to choose a state school – The Times (£)
  • Dozens of heads paid bigger salaries than the Prime Minister – Daily Mail

Labour faces backlash over Lord Freud witch hunt

“Labour and disability charities are facing a growing public backlash for making a ‘disgusting spectacle’ of remarks by a Government minister about minimum pay for disabled workers. Shadow Cabinet minister Angela Eagle looked shocked as a BBC Question Time audience turned on her when she demanded that welfare reform minister Lord Freud should resign or be sacked.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Watch: Is Lord Freud winning the argument?

Troubled and disjointed: inside the world of Team Miliband

Miliband Natural“Where there is clear unity across Labour — from MPs to shadow cabinet teams to figures inside the party HQ — is in the chorus of demands for the Miliband operation to improve dramatically. “Collectively it’s an absolute car crash. Reverse. Re-reverse. Then one bit doesn’t know what the other bit of the office has decided. There are so many people,” said one figure who has to deal with them regularly.” – Sam Coates, The Times (£)

Scottish Labour is ‘finished’: party faces crisis as SNP surges in its heartlands

“The team processing the tens of thousands of applications at SNP headquarters in Edinburgh cannot keep pace. By contrast, the Labour party had 31,000 members in Scotland in 1998, after Tony Blair’s government won power with a promise of devolution. The number had fallen to 17,000 in 2008 and may now be as low as 13,000.” – The Times (£)

  • Carmichael urges Sturgeon to accept the result or risk dividing Scotland – Daily Telegraph
  • Remember who lost the referendum – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Gordon Brown: There is no better way to kill the UK than English Votes for English Laws

Labour England“There is no democratic country in the world whose main lawmaking body is made up of a first and second class of elected representatives. And there is no state in the world, federal or otherwise, in which one part of the country pays national income tax while the other part is exempt. Yet these are the two principal constitutional proposals that have come from the Conservative party in its kneejerk response to Ukip’s English nationalism and an ill-thought-out drive to impose what is commonly called “English votes for English laws” (Evel).” – The Guardan

  • Full income tax devolution would be “anti-Scottish”, claims Brown – Financial Times

Labour’s plan to build on the Green Belt

“Labour will allow more homes to be built on parts of the protected Green Belt if the land has little “environmental or amenity value”. The small print of the report which is expected to form the basis of housing policy, published Sir Michael Lyons, on Thursday discloses that Green Belt with little “environmental or amenity value” is at risk. The report singles out the Green Belt around cities like Oxford, Cambridge, York and Bristol as ripe for development.” – Daily Telegraph

MPs draft recall bill inspired by Labour’s disgraced Police and Crime Commissioner…

Police shield“Proposals for new legislation were put forward by the Commons’ all-party Home Affairs Select Committee in the wake of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal. Shaun Wright, refuse to resign for his role in the “shocking” failures to protect children in South Yorkshire, which were exposed in detail in a highly critical report published on August 26.” – Daily Telegraph

…amidst fears of a council cover-up in Rotherham

“Fears of a “deliberate cover-up” by public officials of the sexual abuse of children in Rotherham have been fuelled by the large number of documents detailing the scandal which have vanished, an investigation by MPs has concluded. They urged the Home Office to launch an immediate search for the missing paperwork and to examine claims that files warning about the activities of paedophile rings were stolen from a locked council office in the South Yorkshire town.” – The Independent 

  • May urged to investigate ‘deliberate cover up’ over Rotherham scandal – The Sun (£)

Miliband sets up anti-UKIP task force

UKIP glass“Ed Miliband has asked a group of his senior MPs to form an attack unit against Ukip, by branding them the heirs to Margaret Thatcher. Amid growing fears about the party’s appeal to traditional Labour voters, he has asked Northern-based members of his team including shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and energy spokeswoman Caroline Flint to head the operation.” – Daily Mail

  • By-election date set for second Tory defector – Daily Telegraph
  • Tories bring out the big guns for Rochester and Strood – The Times (£)
  • Does UKIP deselection suggest another ‘big fish’ is about to jump? – The Sun (£)

Matthew Parris: What do the anti-immigration lot really want?

“…why can’t they see that wittering nervously about “game-changing” reforms they hope to conjure from God-knows-where, to “deal with” voters’ concerns about immigration and Europe, impresses nobody: it makes them look rattled and on-the-run. It validates the outriders in our politics: outriders like Ukip who will never be called upon to put their ideas into practice and so can always outbid the mainstream parties with yet more outlandish claims.” – The Times (£)

Robert Hardman: The disintegrating socialist republic favoured by Red Ed

Ed Miliband French“With personal popularity ratings of just 13 per cent — way lower than previous barrel-scraper Nicolas Sarkozy (his predecessor) on 28 per cent — Mr Hollande is by far the most unpopular leader in modern times. Nicknamed ‘Flanby’, after a supermarket caramel custard, this is a man whom Labour leader Ed Miliband professes to support and admire (he has described their relationship as ‘very warm’). No wonder the Tories like to highlight France as a warning of what Britain can expect from Red Ed. Just this week, the Prime Minister cheerfully dismissed France’s cherished 35-hour working week as ‘nonsense’.” – Daily Mail

Alexander trumps Cable to be Lib Dem’s economic lead in 2015

“Danny Alexander has won a battle with Vince Cable to act as the Liberal Democrats’ main economic spokesman at the general election. Nick Clegg’s decision will be interpreted as evidence that the party leadership could feel more comfortable continuing in coalition with the Tories after the election than forging a power-sharing deal with Labour.” – The Independent

News in Brief:

  • Medical chief who backed park smoking ban admits to using hash – Daily Mail
  • Dogs that chase the postman could face £20,000 fine – Daily Telegraph 
  • UKIP approach comedian who offered “alliance of idiots and fools” in bid to fix their European Parliament group – The Guardian
  • Thousands of officers suspected of corruption – The Independent 

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