Scotland 1). Cameron insists the devolution “vow” is being kept

Scottish flag“David Cameron pledged to press ahead with his plans to strip powers from Scottish MPs when he came to Scotland to say his pre-­referendum vow on more powers for Holyrood had been delivered. The Prime Minister said the pro-UK parties’ promise to strengthen the Scottish Parliament had been kept when the UK government yesterday published draft legislation to transfer new powers north of the Border. On a visit to Edinburgh, Mr Cameron said the new powers were ‘the right resting place’for devolution but added there would be no let-up on his plans to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English matters at Westminster” – Scotsman

  • SNP “trying to wreck” devolution deal – The Times (£)
  • Sturgeon, Cameron at loggerheads over Holyrood powers bill – Herald
  • Surge in SNP support forces Labour to rethink power deal – Financial Times

Scotland 2). Nelson: What the SNP really needs is a Tory victory

“The only goal that matters to the SNP is independence – and that means assembling a narrative of a Scotland suing for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable political differences. Without a villain, Ms Sturgeon will not have much of a pantomime; so she needs Cameron, the Old Etonian with a Brasenose First, as prime minister… And most of all, she wants his in-or-out referendum on the European Union” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Cameron has broken his “vow” to the Scottish people – Nicola Sturgeon, Guardian
  • What Scotland really wants is social justice – Joyce McMillan, Scotsman
  • SNP finding out there are traps on the road between rhetoric and reality – Alison Rowat, Herald
  • Welsh politicians demand the same powers as Scotland – Wales Online

Cameron’s bluff called on election debates

“Broadcasters have called David Cameron’s bluff by setting out new proposals for televised election debates that would include the Green party — removing the Conservative leader’s declared reason for refusing to take part… Mr Cameron had threatened to veto the debates if Nigel Farage, the UK Independence party leader, was allowed to take part without the Greens also being included” – Financial Times



Boris picks up a gun to show solidarity with Kurds

Boris Johnson gun“Boris Johnson has taken up arms on the frontline against Islamic State – as he called on David Cameron to send more British troops to help the struggling Kurds. The London Mayor has mounted a high-risk trip to northern Iraq to witness the bitter fight himself. He controversially broke a long-standing political rule to pick up an AK-47 assault rifle and line up alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to show his solidarity with them” – The Sun (£)

  • Mother of Japanese Isis hostage makes tearful appeal – Guardian
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah dies and Salman ascends – Financial Times

Lawson: Enshrining aid in law would hurt the poor

“Plans to change the law to force all Governments to spend 0.7 per cent of the nation’s income on third world aid every year will not help ‘poor countries and their people’, a former Tory Chancellor says. Lord Lawson of Blaby, who ran the Treasury in Margaret Thatcher’s Government in the 1980s, said the commitment ‘wrongly’ prioritised the amount spent, rather than the results achieved with the cash. In a letter to today’s Daily Telegraph, Lord Lawson – and Lord Lipsey, a Labour peer – said the proposed legislation should be ‘defanged’” – Daily Telegraph

Lord Brittan dies

“Lord Brittan of Spennithorne died after spending his final months battling cancer with ‘unwarranted’ allegations of links to an establishment paedophile network weighing heavily on his mind, friends said last night. Lady Brittan, whose husband died on Wednesday night aged 75, had spent recent months attempting to protect him from the ‘smear’, which dated back to his time as home secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s government. David Cameron was among the first to pay tribute to the peer, saying: ‘Leon Brittan was a dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant’” – The Times (£)

Collins: The mansion tax is typical of blinkered Labour

Miliband coffee“Labour’s proposal for a mansion tax, under which all properties above a market value of £2 million would be subject to a levy, is a third way in taxation… The real purpose is political. This is not a tax on property so much as a tax on the southeast of England. Of the 95,000 homes in the UK that would qualify, 95 per cent of them are in London and the southeast” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

  • Miliband did not make his opposition to the Iraq war known at the time – Daily Mail
  • Most voters happy to accept a Jewish Prime Minister: UKIP voters a bit less so – Tim Bale, Daily Telegraph
  • Miliband denies his visit to Ulster was to sound out coalition partners – Belfast Newsletter
  • Dan Jarvis should be the next Labour leader – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph


Hannan: Britain’s future lies with the Commonwealth, not the EU

“In 2013 the Commonwealth’s economy overtook the eurozone’s.All the core Anglosphere countries are projected to grow this year by between 2.5 and 3.1 per cent. India, according to the International Monetary Fund, will grow at 6.4 per cent. But we can’t sign a bilateral free trade agreement with any of these countries. We surrendered our trade policy to Brussels on January 1, 1973, and in the process turned our back on close trading partners such as Australia and South Africa” – Daniel Hannan, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Tobacco groups poised to sue over plain packaging plan – Financial Times
  • Prince Andrew dismisses “sex slave” claims – Daily Mail
  • Sadistic pair jailed for “black magic” rape – Independent
  • England cricket captain blackmailed for £35,000 – Daily Mail
  • Farage accused of “deal with Tories to be a Lord” – The Sun (£)
  • Rees-Mogg says Lords should have the best champagne – Daily Mail
  • Brighton Greens at war over tax rise – The Times (£)
  • Danny Alexander seen doing children’s maths quiz – The Sun (£)
  • Tutankhamun’s beard glued back on – Daily Telegraph