Terror cells plotting UK landmark attacks

Screen shot 2015-01-07 at 14.19.13“Al-Qaeda cells in Syria are plotting sophisticated terror attacks against airliners, transport systems and landmarks in Britain, the head of MI5 warned last night. Hundreds of British jihadists have returned from the war-torn country and some of those were intent on pursuing their ‘twisted ideology’ by carrying out lethal attacks here. Andrew Parker, director-general of the intelligence agency, said that police and intelligence agencies had saved lives in Britain by thwarting three terror plots driven from Syria in recent months” – The Times (£)

  • Head of MI5 calls for new powers – Guardian
  • Charlie Hebdo terrorists elude manhunt – The Times (£)
  • First photograph from inside the Charlie Hebdo office – Daily Mail
  • Boko Haram “kills 2,000” as it burns Nigerian army town – The Times (£)

Nelson: British Muslims deserve better leaders

“The official judgment is that ‘an attack on the UK is highly likely’. If one should come, then it will be a huge challenge to social cohesion – and Muslim leaders will need to be at their most forceful, articulate and persuasive in the aftermath. And to do a far better job than of late. The problem in recruiting such leaders is obvious: most British Muslims run a mile from the peculiar and often vicious sectarian politics of all this” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Don’t blame this bloodshed on France’s Muslims – Nabila Ramdani, Guardian
  • It’s a problem for everyone, not just us Muslims – Haras Rafiq, The Times (£)
  • Vile jihadists are not real Muslims – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express
  • There is no peace unless Muslims can reform – Philip Collins, The Times (£)



Cameron unlikely to take part in leaders’ debates

Camerons thinking copy“David Cameron has all but ruled out taking part in televised election debates. His remarks prompted Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party to accuse Mr Cameron of running scared from the leaders’ debates ahead of polling day in May” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ofcom rules that UKIP is a “major party” and can join television debates – The Times (£)
  • TV election debates in jeopardy over minority parties – Financial Times
  • The other parties should call Cameron’s bluff and include the Greens – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • Ofcom should not decide who takes part in the debates – Daily Telegraph editorial


Boom in house-building on brownfield sites

“A shortlist of 29 new housing zones — including several in the north and Midlands — has been published, with proposals of up to 2,000 homes per scheme although larger sites are being considered… Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, said they would share a £200 million pot to help with infrastructure. All the schemes — a mix of social and market housing — will be on brownfield sites” – The Times (£)

  • Britain’s self-perpetuating property racket – Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Osborne pledges “spare cash” to fund tax cuts

OSBORNE ConHome“David Cameron’s pledge to deliver £7 billion of tax cuts to middle and low income families would be delivered by using some of the planned £23 billion budget surplus forecast for the end of the decade, George Osborne confirmed yesterday. The chancellor said he ‘completely’ agreed with Michael Gove, the government chief whip, who said earlier this week that the Conservative party’s plan to cut income tax…could be funded by the ‘spare’ cash that the party plans to save by 2020” – The Times (£)

Labour MPs split over “absurd” mansion tax

“Ed Miliband has been dealt a further blow over his proposed ‘mansion tax’ after it emerged that two out of five of his own MPs have doubts about it. An anonymous poll showed that 39 per cent of Labour MPs believe that introducing additional council tax bands would be a ‘better way’ to tax high-value homes. Only 56 per cent favoured introducing the mansion tax, which would be applied annually to properties worth more than £2 million” – The Times (£)

  • Mansion tax could cost Labour ten seats – The Sun (£)
  • Four Scottish castles that wouldn’t be hit by the mansion tax – Daily Mail
  • Miliband promises to recruit extra nurses – Guardian
  • Ed came goofily skipping into the hall – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Jim Murphy recruits senior Blair aide – Herald

Cable forced to say sorry after poll row

CABLE Dr Evil“Vince Cable has been forced to apologise after being found to have broken parliamentary rules for failing to disclose private polling paid for by a wealthy backer and used in a failed putsch against Nick Clegg. The business secretary should have declared £6,000 worth of opinion research commissioned by his friend Lord Oakeshott, the parliamentary standards commissioner has ruled in a decision to be published today” – The Times (£)

News in brief

  • President Mahinda Rajapaksa concedes defeat in Sri Lanka election – Guardian
  • Pings detected in search for black box from crashed AirAsia plane – Guardian
  • Andrew Turner faces calls to stand down as Isle of Wight MP – Daily Telegraph
  • Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee jailed for drugs offence in China – BBC
  • Eleven-year-old boy causes crime wave in Shepton Mallet – Daily Telegraph
  • Rod Taylor, star of The Birds, dies aged 84 – BBC