PM apologies over Citizenship being granted without proper checks

telegraphmigrants“Violent foreign thugs have been granted British citizenship on a ‘no questions asked’ basis due to errors by borders bureaucrats, an official report has revealed, prompting David Cameron to apologise for “extremely regrettable” mistakes. One immigrant was given British citizenship although he admitted stabbing someone to death in his home country, after an official neglected to read his notes.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “John Vine’s report has been with Theresa May, the home secretary, since the beginning of September, prompting accusations that she has been sitting on it in an attempt to bury bad news.” – The Times(£)
  • “In one case, officials did not look at files showing an asylum seeker had killed someone in their home country. The Home Office said most of the issues were down to ‘wrong-headed decisions taken by the previous government’.” – BBC
  • “Certainly, the overall immigration regime has been toughened up since 2010 and would become tougher still, if proposals to restrict benefits were to be implemented. But so long as basic good practice is overlooked and elementary mistakes are made, efforts to improve policy will be undone – and the public’s confidence eroded.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

Cameron “determined” to clinch Northern Ireland deal…

“The people of Northern Ireland want to see their politicians deliver, the prime minister has said. David Cameron said he was “always an optimist” and remained so as he prepared to join cross-party talks at Stormont House in Belfast. He and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny are hoping to secure agreement in the talks concerning disputes on flags, parades, the past and welfare reform.” – BBC

…and warns Google to alert the police to potential terrorists

“David Cameron hit out at web companies such as Google for not having the ‘decency’ and sense of ‘moral obligation’ to inform the police if potential terrorists are searching for bomb-making tips. The Prime Minister praised search engine firms for going ‘above and beyond’ to tackle online paedophiles by making it harder to search for child abuse images, which he claimed were being produced on an ‘industrial scale’. But he said they should be expected to do the same for terrorists, by adopting a sense of ‘social responsibility’ and blocking searches that proto-terrorists might use to research ways to kill people.” – Daily Mail

Morgan says parents should be free to smack their children

MORGAN Nicky headshot“PARENTS should always be free to smack their children, the Education Secretary has declared. Nicky Morgan defended current laws that allow mums and dads to smack their kids. But Labour’s Ed Balls said smacking was wrong and should never be encouraged. Mrs Morgan was being quizzed by an 11-year-old boy in a TV debate organised by kids’ newspaper First News. James Lloyd-Elliott asked: “Don’t you think violence against children should be banned altogether?” The mum-of-one replied: “I don’t want to criminalise parents if that’s the decision that they take to discipline their child. “There’s what we have called reasonable chastisement.” – The Sun(£)

Penning says jail terms are getting tougher

“The average prison sentence has increased by nearly 90 per cent to more than eight months since 2007, following moves to toughen up sentencing, said the Ministry of Justice. Knife and offensive weapon possession offences formally dealt with by the justice system fell to 4,126 – 43 per cent below its 2008 quarterly peak of 7,281.Justice Minister Mike Penning said: “We continue to keep this area of the law under close scrutiny.” – Daily Express

Miliband pledges to tackle the deficit with further spending cuts…

Miliband coffee“Ed Miliband has ruled out any uncosted spending commitments in Labour’s election manifesto, as he set out his party’s plans to reduce the deficit. Dealing with the public finances will be an “essential test” of Labour’s credibility, the party leader said. He argued boosting wages and taxing the better off, in addition to budget cuts in most areas, could contribute to eliminating the deficit by 2020.” – BBC

>Today: Andy Silvester on Comment: It’s time for more honesty from the parties about spending reductions

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: What Miliband got right and why it won’t work for him

…but he won’t say where the axe would fall

“Ed Miliband was ridiculed for attacking Tory spending cuts – while admitting Labour won’t say what they would axe until AFTER the election. The Labour boss made the startling admission during a major speech on the economy. Mr Miliband has accused the Conservatives of planning to reduce state spending to levels last seen in the 1930s. He said Labour would also balance the books if they win power, but in a “tough and balanced” way. However, he said they would not reveal precise details of how they will do it before next May.” – The Sun(£)

  • “Labour is preserving the room to do things differently in government, without sharing the detail of its thinking before voters make their choice. They deserve better.” – Leader The Guardian
  • The right speech but three years too late – Philip Collins The Times(£)

Patel: The only thing Miliband and Balls remember is how to borrow money

PATEL Priti Large“Miliband said there would be difficult decisions – but he and Ed Balls refuse to say where those difficult decisions will be made. In an interview Ed Balls in fact reeled off a list of areas he thought were important to protect – ‘education is massively important…defence, social care, local government services, policing are all very important’. That is 70 per cent of current spending on public services. So what exactly are Labour going to cut?” – Prit Patel, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Daily Telegraph

  • The battle over public finances will define Britain – Martin Wolf Financial Times

Abbott: Miliband asked if I minded him sacking me

“INDECISIVE Ed Miliband asked Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott if he was doing the right thing as he was sacking her. Details of the extraordinary exchange were revealed by the former shadow health minister. The Hackney MP was dumped during a Labour reshuffle last year. Speaking to London Live, she said: “When he called me into his office to sack me, he said to me in rather an earnest way, ‘Do you think I am doing the right thing Diane?’ “I said ‘Ed, it’s your reshuffle, of course you’re doing the right thing.’”- The Sun(£)

  • I’d like to climb inside Ed Miliband’s head – Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph

Daily Mail accuses David Miliband over torture cover-up…

dailymailtorture“Exactly one year after David Miliband’s ‘I abhor torture’ interview, he was exposed as being behind a cover-up of one of the most shameful episodes in New Labour’s rule — Britain’s secret involvement in the torture of terror suspects overseas. Miliband had tried to use the court system over a period of six months to block publication of the fact that MI5 had connived in the torture of one suspect, Binyam Mohamed, a former British resident who had been detained in Pakistan in 2002 on suspicion of having attended an Al Qaeda training camp.” – Daily Mail

  • Now Britain accused of using evidence obtained by torture of Guantanamo inmate- The Indepedent
  • What we did was abhorrent but saved lives, claims John Brennan – The Times(£)
  • Washington’s worst kept secret – BBC
  • Russia calls for prosecutions over ‘inquisition-style’ CIA interrogation methods – Daily Telegraph

…as Davis attacks British “complicity”

“David Davis, the Tory MP and former shadow home secretary, said: “Downing Street’s U-turn on its previous denial that redactions had taken place tell us what we already know – that there was complicity, and that it wasn’t reflected in the Senate report. “We know from the behaviour of the previous government with respect to the Binyam Mohamed case, that the term national security includes national embarrassment.” – The Guardian

Labour MP says a Fisheries Minister is not a job for a woman

“Labour MP Frank Doran has came under fire for suggesting the post of fisheries minister would be unsuitable for a woman – and denied the remark was sexist because “I know the fishing industry”. The education secretary Nicky Morgan said Doran’s comments were “outrageous and deeply offensive” and demanded an apology, while defence minister Anna Soubry said he was “talking nonsense and insulting women”.” – The Guardian

Question Time clash of the titans – Farage v Brand

Russell Brand“Twitter users compared Question Time to a ‘posh Jeremy Kyle’ show last night as audience members turned on Russell Brand, Nigel Farage – and each other. Comedian Mr Brand was slammed as a hypocrite by one audience member after he admitted he was too ‘scared’ to stand for Parliament because ‘I’d become one of them’ – while another audience member branded Mr Farage a ‘racist scumbag’. Then the pair turned on each other – with the comedian calling Mr Farage a ‘pound shop Enoch Powell’ while the MEP pointed fingers over Mr Brand’s wealth.” – Daily Mail

  • “As communities minister Penny Mordaunt praised firefighters, Brand interrupted, saying: “Pay their pensions then, love. Excuse the sexist language, I’m working on it.” – Daily Telegraph
  • Panto has arrived on BBC Question Time – Daily Telegraph
  • Quentin Letts review – Daily Mail

“Let Hamilton stand,” demands Wheeler

NEIL (Nicky - cropped)“One of Ukip’s biggest donors has threatened to withdraw his cash unless Neil Hamilton is given a parliamentary seat, it was claimed last night. Stuart Wheeler, the party’s former treasurer, has demanded that the disgraced former Tory MP be allowed to stand, according to sources. The claim is the latest twist in a major row that has blown up over Mr Hamilton, who has long been a divisive figure in the party.” – The Times(£)

  • UKIP has become an important political presence in Britain. So far it does not seem to be standing up to the scrutiny it must expect – Leader The Times(£)
  • UKIP’s Natasha Bolton may not have been qualified teacher – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Columnist Iain Dale: Roger Bird – not exactly Brad Pitt in the looks department, is he?

EU responsible for half of all new offences

“Half of all new offences created by the government last year were a result of European Union directives. Business leaders and Eurosceptics warned that Brussels had become a “law-making machine”, creating mountains of red tape for Britain. Among new laws linked to the EU were the olive oil (marketing standards) regulations. These lay down rules on what can be said on labels to describe the “taste and smell of extra virgin and virgin olive oil”. Government figures show that the EU was responsible for 129 of 280 criminal offences created by the government in the year to the end of May. This represented 47 per cent of new offences, a proportion that jumps to almost 60 per cent when offences created as a result of EU decisions such as sanctions on Syria are included.” – The Times(£)

Faith schools top league table for primaries

School“Faith schools are tightening their grip on the top spots in primary league tables, official figures reveal. Of the 693 best-performing schools, 62 per cent were faith schools – up from 60 per cent last year – although they account for only a third of primaries nationally. These schools achieved ‘perfect’ results which meant they brought all pupils up to the Government’s expected level in reading, writing and maths.” – Daily Mail

  • 200,000 pupils taught in failing primary schools – The Sun(£)


UK standard of living rises to fourth highest in the EU

“The UK’s standard of living has climbed to the joint fourth-highest within the European Union, overtaking the Netherlands and significantly ahead of France, Italy and Spain, according to official figures compiled by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU….The UK’s standard of living in 2013 was 15% higher than the average for the 28 member states of the EU, and was up one place from the year before. Luxembourg came top (36% higher than average) followed by Germany (22%) and Austria (20%). Four nations, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK were then jointly ranked in fourth place.” – The Guardian

The Guardian has a call Liam Fox to “calm down”…

FOX Liam blue background“Liam Fox is not going to apologise for being a Christian. We know this because not only has the former defence secretary sent out old-school Christmas cards featuring the baby Jesus – unlike the prime minister’s heathen offering, involving himself and Samantha surrounded by Chelsea pensioners without so much as a sniff of tinsel – but because he’s made a YouTube video explicitly to tell us so. Being tolerant of other people’s religions, he explains, is a good thing – but by golly that doesn’t mean skulking around apologising for his. And while it is obviously useful to have the card business cleared up, it does leave one wondering who, exactly, is demanding this apology that Dr Fox so bravely will not give.” – Gaby Hinsliff The Guardian

…and for English Conservatism with a social conscience

“The current alternative on the right is Ukip, who clearly have no answers to anything. What remains of the left, up to and including the Labour party, is surely too weak to do anything enduringly transformative on its own. No: if food banks are to go out of business for good, the imported notion of “welfare” is to be replaced with something less punitive, and we are to at least to try to reinvent the labour market, English Conservatism – or at least parts of it – will have to rediscover a social conscience.” – John Harris The Guardian

Nelson: Beware of The Blob

NELSON Fraser“Only last week, Tony Blair admitted that he found school reform more perilous than the Iraq war in that it brought him a deadlier type of enemy, more likely to end his political career. Changing the system is hard, which is why so many pupils are trapped in failing schools. The Blob defeated Blair, just as it defeated Thatcher. It would be a great tragedy if it were to defeat David Cameron too.” – Fraser Nelson Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Devon abandons plans to ban smokers and obese from routine operations – The Guardian
  • Man jailed for Galloway attack – BBC
  • ASDA cut price of petrol to 112.7p a litre – The Sun(£)
  • Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert calls for debate on new porn restrictions – BBC
  • Pension firms pay compensation for duping victims – Daily Mail
  • Lib Dem energy spokesman Lord Redesdale failed to declare interests – Daily Telegraph
  • Councils parking revenue reaches £667 million – Sky News
  • New EU rules on allergy warnings to cost restauramts £200 million – Daily Mail
  • UKIP’s Natasha Bolton may not have been qualified teacher – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s EVEL substitute – Politics Home

And finally…Morgan ambushed by maths question

“Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been wrong-footed by a 10-year-old interviewer with a secondary school maths question. She was asked the cube root of 125 by pupil Leon Remphry during a children’s newspaper interview on Sky News. The answer is five, but Ms Morgan said: “I think that’s one that I might just have to go away and work out.” “I think politicians who answer maths questions or spelling questions on air normally come a cropper.”- BBC


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