Scotland 1) Holyrood takes control of income tax

Scottish flag“Scotland is to be handed control of income tax as part of major concessions after its ‘no’ vote in the independence referendum. In a cross-party deal viewed as a significant step towards a federal Britain, a range of powers will be devolved to Holyrood. Under the agreement, Scottish MPs will still be able to vote on income tax rates in the rest of Britain but English MPs will have no say north of the border. However, No 10 said yesterday that it would still press ahead with plans to force English-only votes for English laws after the election” – The Times (£)

  • The Vow Delivers: Scotland to be responsible for more tax and welfare – Daily Record
  • Historic shift in powers signals new era for Scotland – Herald

Scotland 2) Sturgeon takes aim at landowners

“Scotland’s new first minister has taken aim at big landowners, calling for the power to intervene if they stand in the way of sustainable development and unveiling plans to impose business rates on shooting estates. The promise of radical land reform highlights the gulf between London and Edinburgh just a day before Lord Smith of Kelvin announces a far-reaching cross-party deal on new powers for Scotland. It also burnishes the left-wing credentials of Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond’s successor” – Financial Times

  • Sturgeon to crack down on major landowners – Scotsman


Tory Diary: The end of the Union?

May accused of burying bad news on immigration

MAY Theresa menacing“Theresa May has buried bad news about Britain’s asylum system by delaying and manipulating the publication of independent inspection reports, the head of the Government’s immigration watchdog has warned MPs. In a damning letter to the Public Accounts Committee, seen by The Independent, John Vine reveals that the Home Secretary is currently sitting on five reports believed to be critical of the Government, one of which was completed five months ago. Mr Vine warns the MPs that the failure to publish his reports in a ‘timely’ manner is ‘reducing their impact’ and has ‘compromised’ the independence of his role” – Independent

  • New domestic violence law will outlaw “coercive control” – Daily Telegraph

Jihadists funded by welfare benefits, police officer warns

“Britain’s benefits system is being abused to fund terrorism, a senior police officer has warned. Terri Nicholson, from the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command unit, said that taxpayers’ money was being claimed fraudulently and used by terrorists in countries such as Iraq and Syria. She said there had been ‘a number of cases’ recently of terrorists making fraudulent student loan claims to fund their activities. MPs described the prospect of British money being used to bankroll potential terrorist plots on British soil as ‘sickening’” – Daily Telegraph

Clegg outlines immigrant benefit crackdown

Nick Clegg portrait“Work has begun on a coalition crackdown to restrict EU migrants’ access to benefits before the election. Conservative MPs have been warned that new migration figures due out today are likely to show a rising trend, further increasing the political heat over an issue that is driving support from the mainstream parties to UKIP. Nick Clegg yesterday outlined measures to make Britain less attractive to Europe’s jobless, including making in-work benefits conditional on previous tax payments” – The Times (£)

Rompuy: the EU can survive without Britain

“The European Union ‘will survive’ if Britain leaves after an in-out referendum but would be ‘dead’ if France voted for exit, Herman Van Rompuy has said. The outgoing president of the European Council criticised the UK and indicated that David Cameron will not be able to secure changes to freedom of movement rules. He made his comments as it was disclosed that a black hole in the EU budget could leave British taxpayers paying an extra £34 billion over six years” – Daily Telegraph

Hunt introduces “duty of candour” for hospitals

HUNT Jeremy open neck“All hospital directors will have to pass a ‘fit and proper’ person test, under new rules introduced by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt…Under a new ‘Duty of Candour’ scheme, hospitals will also be required to disclose information about incidents which caused patients harm and provide an apology. Mr Hunt said that new systems were necessary in the wake of the tragic events in Mid Staffordshire, saying they would bring in a ‘new era of openness’” – Daily Telegraph

  • Watchdog calls for free gastric surgery for fat diabetics – The Sun (£)
  • Wales has biggest childhood obesity problem in the UK – Wales Online
  • Anne Main MP: the Welsh NHS failed my mother – Daily Mail

Facebook tried to keep Rigby failure quiet

“Facebook tried to hush up their catastrophic Lee Rigby failing in a bid to avoid worldwide condemnation, The Sun can reveal. It has emerged that the US-based social network came forward to GCHQ themselves to volunteer information about twisted Michael Adebowale’s murderous brags. But that was only a few days after the soldier’s killing. Damningly, the giant company only agreed to talk to Britain’s eavesdropping spy service if their name remained confidential throughout, intelligence sources have revealed to us” – The Sun (£)

  • Isis stones to death two men accused of adultery and gay sex – The Times (£)

Parents say yes to more grammar schools

School“A new generation of grammar schools across Britain would be backed by more than half of voters, a poll for The Times has found. A total of 54 per cent said that they would support opening new grammar schools in response to demand from local parents, with 23 per cent against and 23 per cent unsure…The findings are likely to add to calls for David Cameron to pledge to expand selective schooling in the Tory manifesto” – The Times (£)

Lansley could get major UN role

“David Cameron is believed to be putting Andrew Lansley, the former Health Secretary, forward as Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs at the United Nations. Mr Lansley, who was returned to the backbenches in the July reshuffle, would be in charge of the UN’s response to major crises in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan…Lord Malloch Brown, the former UN Deputy Secretary General, questioned Mr Lansley’s skills and experience for the demanding role” – Daily Telegraph

Oborne: Osborne’s spin is meant to hide his failure on the deficit

OSBORNE non-broken sword“The awkward truth is that Mr Osborne’s credibility is low when it comes to the deficit. At the start of this parliament he promised that Britain would be starting to pay off the national debt by the general election. This has not happened…It takes real chutzpah in these circumstances to introduce a law challenging Labour to be prudent, but that is what Mr Osborne’s spinners say he wants to do” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph



Montgomerie: Marriage is the best weapon against inequality

“Whatever the policies they choose, politicians must start recognising that two-parent families matter. Marriage, in particular, is a wealth creator; a driver of social mobility; an insurance against tough times. What’s more, three quarters of young Britons aspire to it. But if it’s popular among the millennial generation it’s still taboo on the left. Until that changes there will be little progress against poverty or inequality” – The Times (£)

  • Tebbit attacks Government for helping women “leave their children at home and go out to work” – Daily Mail

When Currie and Mellor were rivals for Number Ten

CURRIE Edwina“There’s an entry in Edwina Currie’s first volume of diaries that the passage of time has rendered part-tragic, part-comic. But mainly comic. It’s October 7, 1988. Margaret Thatcher is still going strong. Currie is a parliamentary under-secretary, which is just about as junior as it gets. But her ambition remains undaunted. ‘I will have a crack at the leadership as soon as I can,’ she confides to her diary. ‘Partly because I am in touch with real people, partly because I can offer some leadership.’ She then adds: ‘I look at rivals like David Mellor and I like me better’” – Craig Brown, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Ebola vaccine shows promise in trials – Financial Times
  • Ferguson on edge after second day of protests – Financial Times
  • Phil Hughes dies two days after being hit by bouncer – The Times (£)
  • Mad Frankie Fraser, sadistic gangster, dies aged 90 – The Sun (£)
  • Two British tourists die in Amsterdam after “snorting white heroin” – Independent
  • Outrage grows over Tony Blair’s award from Save the Children – Daily Mail
  • Andy Murray gets engaged to Kim Sears – Daily Mail