Six cabinet members say we should leave the EU is reforms aren’t agreed

EU Exit“Up to half a dozen members of the cabinet believe Britain should leave the EU if David Cameron fails to deliver a major reform of Britain’s membership terms, according to senior Tory sources….Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister, became the latest senior minister to say Britain should be prepared to leave if the negotiations fail following the claim by Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, that Britain has nothing to fear outside the EU. Other ministers prepared to countenance an exit include Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, Chris Grayling, the justice secretary and Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland secretary.” – The Guardian

  • “Owen Paterson called on fellow Eurosceptics to make a more compelling case for Britain’s prospects outside the EU – predicting that if an in/out referendum were held today, voters would choose to stay in.’ – Daily Mail
  • “Foreign secretary Philip Hammond in the summer said he would vote for Britain to leave the EU unless there was significant reform in Brussels.”- The Sun(£)

>Today: ToryDiary:The Conservatives won’t win by banging on. And on. And on. And on. And on and on and on about Europe.


MPs approve Recall Bill

“The House of Commons has approved plans which could see MPs being “recalled” and subject to a public vote on their future in cases of serious misconduct. MPs passed a law allowing by-elections to be held in certain circumstances. They also agreed to reduce the length of time that an MP would have to be suspended from the Commons to trigger a recall process from 21 to 10 days.” – BBC

Universal Credit extended to include parents

IDS headshot“The government’s flagship welfare reform programme Universal Credit is being extended, with parents able to claim it for the first time. The change will initially apply to parents in parts of north-west England. The credit, which merges six working-age benefits into a single payment, had previously been available only to single people and couples. It will be available in a third of job centres by Spring 2015, Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said. He said the new benefit restored “fairness to the system”.” – BBC

  • “Universal Credit is the end of the dole as we know it. Instead, we are introducing a system that supports people to escape poverty and welfare dependency – putting them on the path to securing a better future for themselves and their families,” Mr Duncan Smith will say.”- Daily Telegraph
  •  “Labour want Universal Credit “paused” until the National Audit Office can investigate the cost. But Mr Duncan Smith said: “Universal Credit is rolling out across the coutry – transforming lives for the better.” – The Sun(£)

Ashcroft Poll: Voters do not believe Miliband will be PM

Opinion Poll graphic“Only a fifth of voters believe that Ed Miliband will be Prime Minister after the election, according to polling carried out by the Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft. Lord Ashcroft’s polling showed that the Labour party are on course to win a majority, despite most voters believing that David Cameron will continue as Prime Minister after May. The polling showed that the Labour party is now five points ahead of the Conservatives, suggesting that the resignation of Emily Thornberry last week did not harm the party.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Working class prefers UKIP to Labour – The Times(£)
  • The Left hate everyone not just the white working class – Richard Littlejohn Daily Mail
  • The Left must fight off these bogus attacks on class – Polly Toynbee The Guardian
  • Ed does understand ordinary people says Rachel Reeves – The Sun(£)
  • Cameron needs to lift British politics out of its petty state – Janan Ganesh Financial Times

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Labour are five points ahead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll

May to have power to ban extremist speakers from universities

MAY Theresa menacing“New powers for the home secretary to order universities to ban extremist speakers from their campuses are to be included in a new counter-terrorism bill. As the government prepares for the publication on Tuesday morning of the official inquiry into the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby last year, Theresa May announced that the legislation would also place a statutory duty on schools, colleges, prisons and local councils to help prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.” – The Guardian

  • Claim that May is exasperated by Downing Street “incompetence” – Daily Mail

>Today: Columnist Rebecca Coulson: The Oxford students who trivialise free speech take reckless risks with our liberty

Labour threaten tax relief for private schools

tristramhunt“Britain’s private schools will lose £700m in tax breaks unless they agree to break down the “corrosive divide of privilege” and do more to help children from state schools, Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary, writes in the Guardian. Labour, on winning the general election in May next year, would prevent private schools accessing business rate relief worth £700m over the next parliament unless they do more to improve the quality of education in state schools.” – The Guardian

  • “Private schools would be asked to help state schools by lending teaching staff and helping with university admissions. The Independent Schools Council says 90% of its schools already work in close partnership with state schools.” – BBC
  • “One private school leader accused Labour of a “medieval” attack on the sector, comparing the government’s crackdown on fee-paying schools’ to Henry VIII’s seizure of land and property in the 1500s.” – Daily Telegraph
  • Private schools have done too little for too long – Tristram Hunt The Guardian

£250m in “police savings” identified by Labour

Police helmet“Labour says it has identified £250m in cost savings that can be made in the police service. The party said the money would be used to “protect front-line policing”. Its cost-cutting proposals include scrapping elected police commissioners and changing the procurement process. Forces in England and Wales have cut £2.5bn from their budgets since 2011, and the government says front-line policing has been protected despite spending cuts.” – BBC

Full devolution of income tax to Scotland agreed to by Labour

“The Scottish parliament is expected to be offered total control over income tax after Labour reluctantly backed a cross-party deal to help halt a surge in support for independence. Labour’s decision to drop its opposition to full devolution of income tax, worth about £10.8bn a year, comes after Alistair Darling, the last Labour chancellor, warned that doing so would end in “floods of tears” and increase the UK’s borrowing costs.” – The Guardian

Patients waiting up to 35 hours in A&E

Hospital parking“Patients are spending up to 35 hours in Accident & Emergency, an investigation has revealed, as the government prepares to alleviate strain on NHS by committing an extra £1.5bn in funding. Health watchdogs are about to issue a damning report warning of major failings by Medway NHS foundation trust, in Kent – now branded the worst hospital in the country – as it admitted repeated cases of patients waiting more than 24 hours in casualty.” – Daily Telegraph

Middle class families to get £300 richer in run up to election says IFS

“Middle-class families will see their income rise by more than £300 in the run-up to the general election, the IFS has predicted in a boost to the Conservatives’ hopes of re-election. Projections released by one of Britain’s leading economic think tanks reveal that average household income is now rising faster than inflation. While the average family’s income per week dropped last year, it is expected to increase by £6 per week during 2014/15 – an annual boost of around £312.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The squeeze on workers pay will be over by the Spring – The Sun(£)

Extra £12bn a year for pensioner benefits by 2020

elderly“Taxpayers must find £12 billion a year to fund pensioner benefits by 2020 even though most retired people are better off than when they were in work, according to a stark analysis of the impact of an ageing population. Spending must be slashed or budgets increased if the state pension and other retirement handouts continue to take an ever increasing share of public spending, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warns. The cost of generous public sector occupational pensions will hit £36 billion a year — equivalent to about 8p on the basic rate of income tax — at a time when most people retiring are better off than they were in work, the think-tank says.” – The Times(£)

  • Can we afford to featherbed our pensioners? – Paul Johnson The Times(£)

Tory MP Richard Graham refused visa to China

“A visit by a cross-party group of parliamentarians to China, led by Peter Mandelson, has been cancelled at the last minute after Beijing refused to grant a visa to a Conservative MP in retaliation for a Westminster debate on the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. In a sign of Beijing’s sensitivity to international criticism of its response to the protests in Britain’s former colony, the Chinese embassy in London demanded that Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, make a statement clarifying his thinking after he held the debate in Westminster Hall last month.” – The Guardian

The Sun campaigns to cut VAT on holidays

cut taxes“THE Sun’s Stick Your VAT campaign to cut the tax on holidays will bring an extra 100,000 jobs to ailing tourist towns, new figures reveal. Research shows that the move could bring in a much-needed £3BILLION to struggling areas outside London. Tourists in Britain pay the highest VAT on holidays anywhere in Europe — almost twice more than countries including Spain, France, Germany and even Ireland. The Sun is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to cut VAT on holidays and tourist attractions from 20 per cent to just five per cent in his Autumn Statement next week.” – The Sun(£)

Resolution Foundation calls for openness on spending cuts

“The main political parties have been accused of keeping voters in the dark about the spending cuts and tax rises that will be needed after next May’s general election. The Resolution Foundation think tank, which studied the plans of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, said all three should be more open with the public about how they would tackle the deficit.” – The Independent

>Today: Ryan Bourne on Comment: Osborne as Chancellor. He has failed to tame the deficit to date. But could he yet succeed?

Build a million homes on brownfield sites says CPRE

Family shield“Building on disused industrial sites and empty housing plots could dramatically ease pressure on the countryside, a study has found. There is space for more than one million homes on derelict land, vacant plots and disused ground, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. And 400,000 of them would be able to be built without delay, because the sites already have planning permission.” – Daily Mail

  • There’s no reason to spoil the countryside – Leader Daily Mail

>Today: The Deep End: We ought to build more homes, but can young workers afford to buy them?

News in brief

  • Serco retain immigration contract – The Independent
  • New domestic violence law to ban “coercive control” – Daily Telegraph
  • £10,000 pay rise for Welsh Assembly members – BBC
  • Newcastle Council leader predicts rioting – The Guardian
  • Major economies will have slow growth says Bank of England – BBC
  • Sainsbury’s disowns Jack Monroe after her vile comments – Daily Mail
  • The Tory MPs who could win as UKIP candidates – Daily Telegraph
  • David Mellor swears at taxi driver – The Sun(£)