Rochester fallout 1) Cameron set to announce a ban on benefits for EU migrants

Cameron Fightback“David Cameron will launch a counterattack on Ukip this week with a fresh crackdown on immigration and the start of a six-month campaign to depict Nigel Farage as a threat to the economic recovery. … The prime minister is expected to use a long-awaited speech on immigration to call for a ban on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits such as tax credits when they first move to Britain. … Cameron and his most senior aides are working on proposals by the think tank Open Europe to end access to tax credits, housing benefits and social housing for two or more years.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Britain is facing a rise in immigration because the economy is growing faster than many other European countries, government advisers have warned.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “The government is to launch a crackdown on sham marriages by automatically investigating all proposed weddings involving someone from outside Europe who does not have the right to stay in the UK.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

Rochester fallout 2) Tories battle each other over immigration

“An ‘immigration summit’ led to an angry clash between the PM’s allies and rebels demanding a tougher response to Nigel Farage. … Former Cabinet Minister Peter Lilley is said to have claimed the UK must shut the door to EU migrants, arguing: ‘Britain is full.’ … He was backed by senior MPs on the Number 10 policy board, but branded ‘shrill’ by one of the PM’s aides. Jo Johnson, brother of Boris and head of the policy unit working on the party’s Election manifesto, also challenged his claim.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Both main parties have allowed themselves to be dragged on to the classic populist territory of immigration and Europe, even as frontbenchers protest in speech after speech that they will not be playing Ukip’s game.” – Observer editorial

Rochester fallout 3) Paul Goodman describes No.10’s dilemma

Paul Goodman portrait“This leaves a central Conservative dilemma firmly in place. Do they stick to their guns and seek to fight the election first and foremost on the economy? Or do they hare off after Ukip, and seek ever-tougher and more confrontational measures on immigration and Europe? The timing of a key speech on both issues by Cameron will be a crucial indicator. … Some right-wing cabinet members, such as Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith, believe that Cameron should have set his approach out long ago. But crucially, there is no voice in Cameron’s own circle pressing for a lurch towards Ukip’s core issues.” – Paul Goodman, Sunday Times (£)

Rochester fallout 4) Will Baron be the next to defect?

Tory-UKIP pact“Terrified Tories afraid of getting a hammering have launched a huge charm offensive on fed-up MPs to stop them jumping ship. … But Mr Farage is close to persuading Basildon and Billericay MP John Baron to defect and fight for neighbouring seat South Basildon and East Thurrock. … A Tory source said: ‘It’s only a matter of time. He has already mentally left the Conservative Party.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “George Eustice, the farming minister who is fighting the next election with a majority of only 66, has sent out leaflets to constituents that make great play of his former membership of Ukip in an apparent attempt to stave off defeat by Nigel Farage’s party next May.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The Ukip leader has told People that he will vacate his role when his tenure as party leader is up for re‑election.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Ukip leader Nigel Farage predicted on Saturday that his party would hit Labour just as hard as the Tories at next year’s general election, as the fallout continued from Thursday’s Rochester and Strood byelection.” – The Observer
  • “It is ‘incredibly unlikely’ that David Cameron will win the general election outright and he will need Ukip MPs to deliver an in-out referendum on EU membership, Mark Reckless has insisted.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • “At some point politics here is likely to regroup — perhaps after an EU referendum — into a French pattern of three blocs: a populist nationalist right wing, made up of Ukip and fellow travellers in the Tory party; a chastened corporatist Tory rump; and a fragmented left, still dominated by a socialist party.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Thanks to Farage, we’re heading for an age of coalition.” – Peter Kellner, Sunday Times (£)

Rochester fallout 5) The party leadership is out of touch, says Davis

David Davis“…the leadership of all the main parties are aloof, out of touch and have little interest in ordinary people. … This sense of disenfranchisement hurts all of us, but as the party in power it hurts us most of all. This is why on the best polls available in the Conservatives’ marginal seats, those commissioned by Lord Ashcroft, we seem set to lose a disastrous proportion.” – David Davis, Mail on Sunday

  •  “Our defeat in the Rochester and Strood by-election demonstrated the complete futility of trying to outflank Ukip on the Right.” – Charles Walker MP, Mail on Sunday
  • “What does Rochester mean? It means that a barrier to real and significant change is crumbling and may yet collapse.” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “The clock is ticking after Rochester, but the Tories can still win the day.” – Bruce Anderson, Sunday Telegraph
  • “It should have been a day of triumph for smug Nigel Farage but Friday morning turned into cold comfort for Ukip as the reality sank in.” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Left-leaning patriots unite! Let’s get straight about Ukip.” – Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday
  • “Ukip should be taken seriously. But it may not like the experience.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • “Nigel Farage is a coward, yet Cameron and Miliband are too gutless to attack.” – Nick Cohen, The Observer
  • “So a tale of two parties, both lacking connection with voters and both, in different ways, lacking credibility. Will this change over the next six months? Don’t bet on it.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday: Sir Edward Leigh MP on Comment – So you want an inclusive Conservative Party? Here’s how to build one.

Rochester fallout 6) Labour are out of touch, says Lammy

Miliband coffee“…the episode dramatised something serious and important: the Labour Party feels culturally adrift not just from large parts of Britain, but from its own traditional working class base. … Large parts of the country feel that Labour not only disagrees with them, they think we disapprove of them too. This has to change.” – David Lammy, Mail on Sunday

  • “This inveterate dislike of the working class is present in almost every pronouncement from the Labour front bench, one or two of them excepted.” – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times (£)
  • “If you want No 10, turn off the Milibrain and bring us sunshine.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Even if it had avoided this act of self-harm, Labour would have been able to derive little pleasure from Ukip’s ascent.” – George Eaton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “The Labour Party of today despises the working class.” – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “As one Miliband confidant says dejectedly: ‘We have become a magnet for bad luck and bad timing.’” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • “Who’s really behind the mansion tax? Posh snobs!” – Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday
  • “Thornberry’s tweet seemed trivial, but it was important and it was embarrassing.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • “Fairness – is it really so hard for our snobbish political elite to understand?” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Tories must not rely on Labour incompetence”.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

And related news stories:

  • Newspaper mastheads“Ed Miliband is one of a growing number of MPs who are out of touch with voters because they have little experience of life outside the ‘political bubble’ in Westminster, Hazel Blears, the former Labour cabinet minister has suggested.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Ed Miliband’s decision to sack Emily Thornberry over her tweeting of a white van and England flags had made it harder for candidates and activists to campaign on the doorstep, senior Labour figures said yesterday, as one MP said the party was trapped in an ‘endless cycle of f***wittery’.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Ed Miliband has been warned to ditch his north London liberal allies, promote working-class candidates and take a tougher line on immigration if he wants to win the general election in May.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Ed Miliband today gets a massive thumbs-down from Sun readers – with only six per cent saying he would make a good PM. … The Labour leader is failing miserably to attract the support of ordinary working people, our exclusive poll reveals.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Emily Thornberry’s Islington home is at the heart of the liberal elite’s dinner party circuit. Directly next door is Margaret Hodge, who is expected to seek Labour’s nomination to be the next London Mayor.” – Mail on Sunday

Pickles hopes to boost smaller house-building companies

“Thousands of pounds will be cut off the price of new homes in a bid to boost small builders. … The cost of adding an extension will also be slashed as stealth housing taxes are cut. … Councils now slap tens of thousands of pounds in taxes on new estates of under ten homes. … But small building firms will soon be let off from these levies. … Communities Secretary Eric Pickles hopes it will kick-start the industry after the 2008 housing crash.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

The Government is critcised for its record on low pay…

Pay“The coalition’s record on low pay has come under attack as new figures revealed that not a single company has been prosecuted in the past year for paying less than the national minimum wage. Despite ministers’ claims that the government is getting tough on under-payers, the last successful criminal prosecution was in February 2013. … That was one of only two prosecutions during the government’s entire term of office to date, according to figures given to parliament.” – The Observer

  • “Millions of people are less than a month away from having to survive on benefits, or help from friends and family, despite the average household thinking they could last 77 days after a ‘sudden loss of income’, warns a new report.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The sister of a mentally ill man who starved to death in David Cameron’s constituency after his benefits were wrongly cut has accused the Government of ‘killing the very vulnerable’, as official figures emerged suggesting dozens of people could have died in similar circumstances.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Growing numbers of people on low incomes are turning to food banks to survive, new research has revealed.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “Last week’s Observer asserted that the coalition’s economic recovery plan was placing a disproportionate burden on the poorest in our society. I absolutely reject this assertion.” – Danny Alexander MP, The Observer

> Today: Adam Lent on Comment – Conservatives should embrace the goal of greater economic equality – as Thatcher did

…and for failing to help Britons abroad

“The once mighty and revered Foreign and Commonwealth Office is failing to offer acceptable levels of help to many Britons abroad and their families – including those alleging torture in prisons overseas – according to a highly critical report by MPs. … The conclusions of the all-party foreign affairs select committee – which says it is ‘gravely concerned’ that allegations of torture are not being dealt with adequately and that families of Britons killed overseas often feel ‘entirely let down’ – will be a serious embarrassment to ministers.” – The Observer

Soubry moves to honour a Falklands hero

SOUBRY Anna Question TimeCorporal Stewart McLaughlin, 27, who was killed leading British soldiers during the Battle of Mount Longdon in June 1982, was denied a bravery award after commanders lost his handwritten citation. … Last month we reported how David Cameron had blocked a bid for Cpl McLaughlin to receive official recognition, telling them it was ‘simply not possible after this amount of time’ to look again at the case. … But now Anna Soubry has [said] that the Ministry of Defence will make ‘rigorous and extensive enquiries into his case on behalf of his family’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “The Royal Air Force has spent £14,000 of taxpayers’ cash on a golf simulator – despite losing 10,000 staff in just four years as part of Ministry of Defence cuts.” – Mail on Sunday

“All my bits and pieces work!” Fabricant talks Bercow, Gove and his love life with the Mail on Sunday

“…there is no mistaking his loathing of Bercow – ‘petty and volatile, needs an anger management course’. … Unsurprisingly, his Cabinet favourites include fellow Tory free spirit and moderniser Michael Gove. ‘I’m having a bromance with Michael,’ he grins. … There is only one subject that makes Mr Fabricant clam up – his ludicrous barnet.” – Mail on Sunday

Cable takes on Osborne’s tax cuts

CABLE Dr Evil“The business secretary, Vince Cable, has torn into the Conservatives for promising £7bn of new tax cuts at a time of renewed uncertainty about the global economy, saying it was ‘total fantasy’ to think they could be delivered without raising other taxes or making massive extra cuts to public services. … Cable told the Observer that officials inside the Treasury were increasingly concerned that the pledges made by the chancellor, George Osborne, and David Cameron at the Tory conference in October were not affordable and could put the government’s reputation for fiscal credibility at risk.” – The Observer

  • “Royal Mail has told MPs that existing and potential rivals must be forced to deliver post six days a week and to every address in the regions they serve in order to protect the universal postal service.” – Independent on Sunday

End winter fuel payments for wealthy pensioners, says Swinson

“Wealthy pensioners should be stripped of their winter fuel allowance to fund cheaper bus fares for young people, a Liberal Democrat Minister claimed yesterday. … Business Minister Jo Swinson said subsidising rich pensioners’ energy bills with payments of up to £300 each was hard to justify in times of austerity. … She said the cash should be used instead to help young people get to work or college with discounted bus tickets.” – Mail on Sunday

Brown to leave Parliament at the general election, according to reports

BROWN Scotland“Gordon Brown will announce he is standing down as an MP ‘within days’, an ally of the former PM has revealed. … He is expected to formally announce before Christmas that he will quit at the general election in May after almost 32 years as an MP. … A close ally of the former Labour PM disclosed to the Sunday Mirror: ‘He wants to go out on a high after effectively salvaging the campaign to keep the UK together in September. He will focus on his charity work.'” – Sunday Mirror

Balls wants bank fines to go towards the health service

“Labour is calling for £1bn in bank fines to be handed to the NHS as the party seeks to move on from the political damage of a tweet by the former shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry of a picture of a house decked out in St George’s flags. … The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, will tell Labour’s east of England regional conference in Ipswich that the latest scandal to engulf financial institutions presents an opportunity to do something for the wider good.” – The Guardian

  • “Labour plans to sell off up to £100million of publicly-owned buildings to cut Britain’s debt. … Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is studying plans to off-load bars, restaurants, clubs and conference halls.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Labour wants to stop Brits drinking more than one pint of beer a day. … Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger told Alcohol Concern’s annual conference she aimed ‘to reduce the proportion of the population who consume above the recommended level’.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Hunt’s warnings about teacher recruitment

School“The coalition is serially failing to match its own teacher recruitment goals, prompting critics to warn that there will be 27,000 fewer teachers in three years’ time than will be needed. … If the government continues to fail to recruit teachers at the required rate or higher, the potential shortfall would force headteachers to increase class sizes, according to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt.” – The Observer

  • “The Government has broken its promise to give every child in Britain the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, according to leading figures in the music industry.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “The success of snap inspections will be trumpeted this week in the wake of the discovery that pupils at six Muslim private schools in east London might have been put at risk of radicalisation and extremism.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Fee-paying schools have become so expensive that lawyers, doctors and teachers can no longer afford to educate their children privately, with some becoming little more than ‘finishing schools for the children of oligarchs’, according to a headmaster at one of the country’s top independent schools.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Almost a fifth of graduates — equivalent to 60,000 students a year — think bad teaching made their university courses poor value, although they paid less than the current fees of up to £9,000 a year.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • “The young yearn to help. We’d be mad not to let them.” – Anthony Seldon, Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Tuition fees shouldn’t become the forgotten problem of this Parliament

Labour MP claims that 2,000 Britons are fighting for ISIS

ISIS“A leading Labour MP has claimed that 2,000 Britons have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIS and other jihadist organisations. … Khalid Mahmood, MP for the Birmingham Perry Barr constituency, claimed that official figures on the numbers of British jihadis is grossly underestimating the size of the problem. … UK security officials believe in the region of 500 men have travelled to Iraq and Syria, but Mr Mahmood claims this figure is widely inaccurate.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A former British infantryman who served in Afghanistan is among a growing cohort of Britons joining the ranks of westerners travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight Islamic State (Isis) militants, the Observer has learned.” – The Observer
  • “SAS troops with sniper rifles and heavy machine guns have killed hundreds of Islamic State extremists in a series of deadly quad-bike ambushes inside Iraq, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “A new ISIS propaganda video has emerged on social media showing the indoctrination and training of dozens of child soldiers from Kazakhstan.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Islamic terrorists hijacked a bus at gunpoint in Kenya yesterday and executed 28 passengers – including nine women – who failed a ‘Muslim test’.” – Mail on Sunday

And comment:

  • “The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in Iraq.” – Patrick Cockburn, Independent on Sunday

MI5 to be cleared over Lee Rigby murder

“An inquiry into the murder of Lee Rigby, the soldier killed by Islamist terrorists on a London street, will find that it was largely unpreventable by security services, according to reports. … Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee will publish its findings Tuesday, and Sky News is reporting that it will clear MI5 of serious failings over the ‘random’ attack.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • “A 19-year-old man has been arrested by police on suspicion of preparing for acts of terrorism.” – Sunday Telegraph

Security services face questions over “cover-up” of a Westminster paedophile ring

Police shield“The security services are facing questions over the cover-up of a Westminster paedophile ring as it emerged that files relating to official requests for media blackouts in the early 1980s were destroyed. … Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984.” – The Observer

  • “The intelligence services will have kept a copy of the lost Dickens dossier naming senior political figures allegedly involved in the sexual abuse of children, according to a former Tory minister.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Sir Cliff Richard is preparing to sue the BBC over its controversial live TV coverage of the police raid on his home.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “A new law on domestic violence, making it illegal for someone to exercise ‘coercive control’ over their partner, will be unveiled by the Government this week.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Cops are to get new powers to track down terrorists, child molesters and cyber bullies lurking on the internet.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Will Scotland gain control of its own electoral system?

Scottish flag“Scotland will have the power to change its voting system and alter the length of its parliaments, under devolution proposals to be unveiled this week. … It is understood that the Smith Commission report, which is expected to be published on Thursday, will recommend that the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, is given control of its own electoral system.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “A woman is in power in the UK for the first time in quarter of a century, and only the second time in modern history. And yet, beyond the Scottish media, coverage of this landmark has been muted.” – Jane Merrick, Independent on Sunday

The NHS opens an investigation into A&E closures

NHS“NHS bosses have launched an official investigation into whether the closure of two A&Es triggered long waits at nearby hospitals – just days after The Mail on Sunday highlighted the problem. … Dr Mark Spencer, the GP in charge of the huge hospital reorganisation in North-West London, said he was ordering the inquiry because he was ‘not happy’ with A&E performance at Northwick Park and Ealing hospitals, following the closure of two other London units in September.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Jeremy Hunt is under pressure to order the publication of a set of reports showing the full extent of pressures on hospitals in England, amid accusations that the Government is attempting to downplay the scale of a potential winter A&E crisis.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “A scandal-hit hospital has been branded one of the worst in England after the number of patient complaints reportedly doubled in the last year. … Colchester General Hospital is also facing a shortfall of 170 nurses, it has been claimed.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Hospitals are to hire Eastern European nurses because so many patients cannot speak English, making it hard for doctors to understand their health concerns.” – Mail on Sunday

And comment:

  • “I choke on the words, but our bulging world needs laws to curb Big Food.” – Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)

News in brief

And finally: May’s desert island

MAY Warhol“…one of Home Secretary Theresa May’s song choices for her stint on Desert Island Discs today may raise some eyebrows. … After telling host Kirsty Young that ‘women in politics, in business, in whatever field they’re in, should be able to do the job as themselves’, Mrs May then selects Walk Like A Man by the Four Seasons as a castaway track.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Not only will the very private politician open up on Desert Island Discs – a rite of passage for any leadership contender – she is also performing a comedy turn for the Westminster great and good.” – Guido Fawkes, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “The Fawcett Society has for the first time conceded it is ‘very concerned’ that women in Mauritius making its ‘This Is What A Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirts are paid just 62p an hour.” – Mail on Sunday