Osborne urged by OECD to ease back on cuts

OSBORNE scissors“Pressure mounted on George Osborne on Wednesday to ease back on the pace of austerity when an international organisation that has consistently supported the chancellor’s overall fiscal plan joined those warning that the size of the state was being slashed too fast. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a Paris-based think-tank, urged Mr Osborne to smooth the path of cuts to avoid putting the recovery in peril” – Financial Times

  • NHS chief tells hospitals to stop wasting cash – Daily Mail

Duncan Smith has not given up plan to cut child benefit

“Iain Duncan Smith has signalled that he will fight David Cameron over his plans to cut child benefit to save £12 billion from the benefits bill. The Work and Pensions Secretary has not given up on his plans to slash child benefit, despite the Prime Minister publicly slapping him earlier this week. One ally said that Mr Duncan Smith – who has to make the savings in this financial year and 2016/17 – felt the battle to cut the child benefit was ‘never over till it is over’” – Daily Telegraph

Cabinet split on MPs’ pay rise

IPSA“David Cameron is facing a growing Cabinet split over MPs’ pay rises…The Prime Minister was on Wednesday criticised for taking a £7,000 pay rise, pushing his salary to almost £150,000, following a decision by the pay watchdog to give MPs a ten per cent pay rise…Mr Cameron’s decision leaves him in opposition with his ministers as Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said that the pay increase ‘is not the right thing to do’ and indicated she will donate it to charity” – Daily Telegraph


Javid second favourite behind Johnson to become Tory leader

“The new Business Secretary Sajid Javid is second favourite among Tory activists behind Boris Johnson to become the party’s next leader. Although Mr Javid has only been an MP for five years, he was named by 17 per cent of members as their preferred choice to succeed David Cameron…Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome, said: ‘The Business Secretary’s promotion, clear-cut style, right-wing views and absence of unforced errors are winning him admirers’” – Independent


Perjury case against Coulson collapses

COULSON Andy“The Crown Office has been heavily criticised for its prosecution of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson after the case against him dramatically collapsed. Coulson was yesterday cleared of perjury over allegedly lying about his knowledge of phone hacking at the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan in 2010. Judge Lord Burns upheld a defence motion that the former tabloid editor and Downing Street communications chief had no case to answer” – Scotsman

  • What happened to Coulson is emblematic of the disproportionate nature of police investigations of journalists – Daily Telegraph editorial

Surge in Romanian migrants after job curb ended

“The number of Romanians given the right to work in Britain soared by more than 200 per cent to over 150,000 people in the year after curbs on them entering the job market were lifted. Official government figures also show that the number of Bulgarian migrants who gained the same right to work after the transitional controls imposed under an EU treaty ended jumped by more than 120 per cent” – The Times (£)

  • Britain sends millions in benefits abroad, even to foreign criminals – Daily Express

Greece threatens to default

Euro meltdown“Greece has threatened to default on its debts if the eurozone and International Monetary Fund try to impose austerity measures in return for loans the country needs if it is to avoid bankruptcy in the coming days. Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, was summoned to Brussels last night to be told that his proposals, delivered on Monday and intended to lead to the unlocking of €7.2 billion in aid, had been rejected” – The Times (£)

  • Tsipras defiant before key meeting with creditors – Financial Times
  • Europe has no choice: it has to save Greece – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Montgomerie: Why Britain is better off leaving Europe

“We live in a topsy-turvy world when those who want Britain to govern itself are portrayed as the fundamentalists. The middle way is apparently a renegotiated relationship with Brussels and Strasbourg. But I’m not interested in better terms with our European masters; I want Britain to be a free nation again — as free as America, Japan, Australia and other great nations. Is that so unreasonable?” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • Lord Sainsbury to mastermind pro-EU campaign – The Times (£)
  • UK banks fight back against EU bonus cap extension – Financial Times
  • Cameron “rules out nothing” in human rights battle – Daily Mail
  • Fury as triple killer takes his appeal to Europe – Daily Mail


Kennedy’s son hears Commons tributes

“Charles Kennedy’s ex-wife Sarah and their son Donald sat in an upstairs gallery to hear the Commons memorialise the late Lib Dem leader. The boy, ten years old and spit of the sire, smiled with shy pride when he heard his name uttered by David Cameron. Donald, all chorister cheeks and handsome ginger hair parted neatly, leaned into his mother and she on him, clutching him as she heard MPs pay lengthy tribute” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

The undoing of Ed Miliband – and how Labour lost the election

Miliband coffee“On 23 September 2014, Ed Miliband prepared to take the stage at the Labour party conference in Manchester to deliver the most important speech of his career. But instead of rehearsing the speech he had memorised, he was being forced to concentrate on a new opening section, endorsing the proposal David Cameron had made that morning to join the US bombing of Isis in Iraq…In fact, Miliband had simply forgotten the brief passage about the deficit…” – Patrick Wintour, The long read, Guardian

  • Steely Kendall is Labour’s best bet for 2020 – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • Corbyn stands for leadership on anti-austerity platform – Daily Mail
  • Blair gets new anti-extremism role – The Times (£)


SNP-Labour row over Commons seating intensifies

“The SNP is threatening a major escalation in its battle over a Commons front bench after branding Labour’s refusal to hand over the seats ‘absolutely pathetic’. It is understood the leadership is willing to order MPs to get into Parliament at 7am and block Labour appointments on Commons committees if the row is not resolved. ‘If they want to play silly games, we’ll play silly games’, a senior figure told this newspaper after admitting to being ‘f***ing furious’ with Labour’s attitude” – Daily Telegraph

  • Salmond tells minister to “behave yourself, woman” – Huffington Post

Rees-Mogg condemns Caffe Nero

jacob“Furious MPs have branded Caffe Nero bosses ‘spineless’ after the company gave in to threats by animal rights activists. It agreed to protesters’ demands for a boycott of milk from badger cull areas…Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for north-east Somerset, accused Caffe Nero’s bosses of being ‘spineless’. He said: ‘Does Caffe Nero really want us to allow this disease to spread? … they must lift the ban sooner rather than later’” – Daily Mail

Fifa official took bribes for 20 years

“Chuck Blazer, the former Fifa official turned government witness, took bribes over a period of almost 20 years to sway the selection of two World Cups and five regional tournaments, according to court documents unsealed on Wednesday. The partly redacted 40-page transcript of Mr Blazer’s guilty plea before a US judge in 2013 was released after news organisations petitioned the court to make it public” – Financial Times

  • Warner promises “avalanche” of Fifa secrets – Guardian
  • Farah’s trainer accused of doping offences – Independent

News in brief

  • Death toll rises on Yangtze cruise ship – Guardian
  • Schoolgirl Amber Peat found hanged – Daily Mail
  • Alton Towers crash victim tells of horror – Daily Mail