Jihadi John 1) Cameron defends security services efforts

140115 Cameron on Marr“Angry David Cameron has branded claims that MI5 pushed Jihadi John into Islamic State’s arms as “completely reprehensible”. Controversial campaign group Cage blamed our spooks for inadvertently radicalising Mohammed Emwazi when they hauled him in for a grilling before he went to Syria in 2013. ..Hitting back, the PM’s spokeswoman said only the terrorists themselves should be blamed for the “brutal murders” they committed. ..Speaking on a visit to Wales, Mr Cameron also heaped praise on MI5’s officers, insisting they were “extraordinary men and women”.” – The Sun(£)

  • Cameron pledges to put the likes of Mohammed Emwazi “out of action” – The Guardian
  • Terrorists former teachers questioned this week – Daily Mail

Jihadi John 2) Boris says scrapping Control Orders was a mistake

“Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor of London, who said that the work of the police and intelligence agencies had been made more difficult by the abolition of control orders. Mr Johnson said: “The difficulty with the Tpims was that you weren’t able to relocate people, which is the essential thing you need to do to dislocate people from their networks of supporters. “I hope people understand that it is no infringement of basic human rights to give the security services the ability to surveil and monitor email traffic, mobile communications traffic between these people.” – The Times(£)

Jihadi John 3) Call for charities to end funding for ISIS apologists

mailjihad“Politicians said Cage had acted reprehensibly in describing knife-wielding fanatic Mohammed Emwazi as a ‘beautiful young man’.  The group, led by former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg, has been propped up largely by grants of £305,000 from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Another charity, set up in memory of Body Shop tycoon Anita Roddick, has handed over £120,000 to Cage.” – Daily Mail

  • “CAGE director Asim Qureshi, 32, was filmed urging Muslims to support jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan.” – The Sun(£)
  • An odious press conference, apologists for terror and the do-gooders who fund them – Daily Mail
  • Terrorist given succour by fellow travellers in Britain – Leader The Times(£)
  • Jihadi John’s friends in Britain – Douglas Murray Daily Express
  • Did Jihadi John slip out of UK with fanatic rapper? – Daily Telegraph

Jihadi John 4) He hated Britain and was always ready for war

“Two British trainee medics who say they met “Jihadi John” in Syria said he hated Britain and was “always ready for war”. The men claimed they met Emwazi when he visited friends in a hospital they worked in months before his alleged role in Islamic State execution videos emerged. They said he wore full combat gear at all times, even in safe areas during the full heat of summer, and earned his high-ranking position through his aggressive behaviour.” – Daily Telegraph

Devolution for Wales could lead to income tax referendum

Welsh Conservatives“A new devolution package for Wales has removed “the last remaining barriers” to an income tax referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron said. Alongside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Mr Cameron said the further powers were a “clearer, stronger, fairer” deal. They include guaranteed minimum funding for the Welsh government, control of fracking and more energy projects.” – BBC

  • Wales gets right to ban fracking – The Times(£)
  • Devolution powers “third rate” – The Guardian
  • Welsh votes could determine the General Election result says Cameron – Wales Online

>Today: ToryDiary: Conservative gains in Wales could keep Miliband out of Downing Street

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Stephen Crabb’s Big Day

Davis attacks Rifkind for being taken in by “glamour” of spying

David Davis“The committee monitoring the security services has been taken in by the “glamour” of spying and is failing to do its job, its founder has said. Conservative MP David Davis said the Intelligence and Security Committee had been “captured by the agencies they are supposed to be overseeing”. And ex-chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind acted as a “spokesman” for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ rather than a watchdog. Sir Malcolm said the criticisms were “ludicrous” and had no basis in fact. He said Mr Davis had been “captured” by the civil liberties lobby.” – BBC

20 per cent discount for Starter Homes gets under way

“First-time buyers under the age of 40 can now register to buy new homes at a discount of up to 20% off the normal price. The offer is part of the government’s new “starter homes” scheme to encourage home ownership and construction on previously used “brownfield” land. The government hopes that 100,000 new houses will be built specifically for first-time buyers by 2020. Labour said the plans would ring hollow for those priced out of the market.” – BBC

Osborne rebuked over EU budget reduction claim

Conference 5“Chancellor George Osborne’s claim last year to have halved the UK’s £1.7bn EU budget surcharge is “not supported by the facts”, according to MPs. Mr Osborne made the comment after meeting EU finance ministers in November when it was announced the UK would pay a total of £850m. The Commons Treasury Select Committee said it “should have been clear” Britain’s EU rebate would apply. But the Treasury said it had “delivered a real result for Britain”.” – BBC

Labour confirm plan to cut tuition fees to £6,000…

“Ed Miliband says Labour would cut university tuition fees in England to £6,000 per year from autumn 2016. He says a Labour government would pay for the fee cut from £9,000 by reducing tax relief on pensions for those earning over £150,000 per year. This commitment to cut fees would not be negotiable in any post-election coalition deals, Mr Miliband promised. Business Secretary Vince Cable attacked the proposals as “fraudulent” and a “tax on pensioners”.” – BBC

…but an expert attacks it as “financially illiterate”

Miliband coffee“Ed Miliband confirmed he would slash fees from £9,000 to £6,000, despite warnings it would benefit the better-off and could damage universities. The Labour leader said the measure would help relieve the ‘scourge of debt’ which he said was holding back young people and the economy. But his announcement that Labour will raid middle-class pension pots to pay for it sparked a furious backlash. Among the critics was the respected consumer champion Martin Lewis of, who condemned them as ‘financially illiterate’.” – Daily Mail

Blair Government wasted £230 billion

“The hundreds of billions of pounds of public money wasted through errors, inefficiency and fraud under Tony Blair’s New Labour government have been revealed in a book. A retired businessman who spent three years examining where taxpayers’ money had gone found that by 2005 the government had wasted more than £230 billion, much of which was lavished on projects started under New Labour. Nearly 57 per cent of the overall amount was lost by the Inland Revenue, now HM Revenue and Customs.” – The Times(£)

Campbell says Labour isn’t getting it’s message across

alcampbell“Adamant though he is that he won’t criticise Miliband, it is noticeable that he doesn’t crop up once in the book — which, given the title, is unfortunate. Alastair Campbell would obviously love to roll up his sleeves and dispense some advice. “There’s a tendency in politics to put a blanket over talented people. We live in a more presidential system now, so a lot of it’s about Cameron and Miliband. But at shadow cabinet level we have a better story to tell, and it’s not being told.” – Interview in The Guardian

Clegg’s “swivel eyed” about EU and won’t agree to a referendum warns Lib Dem Minister

“Nick Clegg’s ‘swivel-eyed’ obsession with Europe could prevent a second coalition deal with the Conservatives, senior Liberal Democrats have warned. The Deputy Prime Minister has publicly said he will consider a deal with whoever emerges on top if the May election results in another hung parliament. But his friends say that in private he has all but ruled out agreeing to a referendum – raising doubts about the viability of a deal with the Conservatives, and potentially forcing the party into a deal with Labour.” – Daily Mail

  • No wonder Clegg’s gone quiet on tax dodging – Daily Mail

UKIP backs Conservative plans to cut the deficit…

UKIP logo“UKIP will back the Conservatives’ deficit reduction strategy in the next Parliament but only if they “stick to their promises”, Nigel Farage has said. Speaking ahead of the party’s spring conference, Mr Farage said UKIP would back future Tory budgets if they helped eliminate the current deficit by 2018. He said George Osborne had failed to meet his deficit targets since 2010 because he had shirked “tough choices”. UKIP would quit the EU, axe HS2 and cut the foreign aid budget to save cash.” – BBC

…as Farage denies rumours about his health

FARAGE Nigel official“Nigel Farage has accused his political opponents of trying to undermine his leadership by spreading rumours about his health. The UK Independence Party leader used his key note address to the party’s spring conference to say that rumours of his demise had been “exaggerated”. Mr Farage also told his cheering audience that intended to lead the party for decades to come, scotching suggestions that one of his two MPs Mark Reckless or Douglas Carswell might try to lead it.” – Daily Telegraph

MPs demand energy price comparison websites compensate customers for false advice

“Energy price comparison sites should pay compensation to customers who changed to tariffs that may not have been the cheapest deals, MPs have said. Such websites have been criticised in the past for not showing the cheapest tariffs, and not telling customers which deals they earn commission on. Now, the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee says “duped” customers should get some money back.” – BBC

Parris: It’s time we washed our hands of Ukraine

PARRIS Mathhew“I don’t believe Moscow would even think about taking a crack at Lithuania, Estonia or Latvia if it believed that this would lead to war with the West. There is only one way such a foolish ambition could be nurtured in the Kremlin — and it is the way the western powers are going about things now: protest and retreat, protest and retreat, all the way down the line . . . until gradually the feeling grows that each nibble will be followed by a further nibble, and when the Bear finally reaches your own doorstep a kind of inevitability has raised the Bear’s daring, undermined your own spirit of resistance, and led your friends to write you off as they had to write off the places that came before.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Moore: A bank has a moral duty – not just a licence to print money

MOORE Charles blue background“A banking licence is a privilege, a protection from the host country from which huge wealth can flow. In return, the bank is supposed to serve that country’s citizens. Instead, it too often uses the licence as a global platform for its adventures, and then expects us to pay when those adventures go wrong.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Russian opposition leader shot dead in Moscow – The Guardian
  • Sir Cliff Richard’s lawyers criticise MPs – BBC
  • IPSA use tweets to check validity of expenses claims – The Times(£)
  • Lloyds resume dividend payments – BBC
  • Clarkson attacks Labour MP for wearing a pink tie – The Guardian
  • Private rents increase eight per cent – The Independent
  • Milburn warns of social mobility “cold spots” – Daily Telegraph