ISIS 1) Cameron will seek Commons support for airstrikes in Syria

David Cameron 02-05-15‘David Cameron believes Britain should launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria without further clearance from the UN, Downing Street has indicated. RAF raids could begin in September at the soonest after Labour’s leadership suggested the party was open to backing the move. Harriet Harman, its acting leader, said Labour would “very seriously” consider any clear and legal plan presented by the government.’ – The Times (£)

  • The RAF’s struggle to find more airpower – FT


>Today: ToryDiary: Protecting Britain from ISIS. Spies here are more effective than bombs abroad

>Yesterday: WATCH: Fallon on the case for striking terrorists in Syria

ISIS 2) Nelson: If we want to intervene, we must reverse defence cuts

‘Mr Cameron needs to accept that, although Isil is a fanatical enemy that has just slain 30 Brits in cold blood, our military cannot do much about it. We’re shrinking: six years ago, we stopped paying for Iraqi officers to train at Sandhurst. Four years ago, we closed our consulate in Basra. Cutting back the budget for the military and the foreign office in order to fatten the foreign aid budget has had consequences – and we’re looking at them now. The Prime Minister has the power to remedy this.’ – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • A minute’s silence will be observed today for those killed in Tunisia – The Guardian

ISIS 3) The BBC says it wants to remain ‘impartial’ towards extremists

BBC‘The head of the BBC sparked fury today after rejecting a demand by MPs to stop using the name Islamic State to refer to the terror group – because it would ‘give the impression of support’ for its opponents. Tony Hall, the corporation’s director general, rejected the call from a cross-party group of 120 MPs to use the name ‘Daesh’ instead, saying it would ‘bias their coverage’. The decision was widely criticised in Parliament today. Commons leader Chris Grayling said it was like being ‘impartial’ to Nazi Germany during the Second World War.’ – Daily Mail

Grayling: EVEL will restore fairness to our democracy…

‘What matters more than anything else is fairness. We cherish and value the Union that holds our nation together. But fairness must apply to all parts of the UK. We cannot leave the West Lothian question unanswered. The decisive votes on English income tax rates cannot be Scottish ones, when Scottish rates are exclusively in the preserve of Scottish politicians…So this week we have started on a path to ensure that fairness. The process of passing laws in the United Kingdom will remain almost identical to what it is at present, with one key difference.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Government should proceed with care on EVEL

…as a Labour MP calls the reform ‘racist’

Labour England‘Ministers were sensationally accused of being “racist” yesterday over their plans to stop Scottish MPs being able to block English laws. Labour veteran Gerald Kaufman, the so-called Father of the House as its longest-serving MP, made the incendiary claim as Commons leader Chris Grayling set out the controversial English Vote for English Laws proposal.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Hollobone: The ‘Mcs’ are holding up voting – The Guardian

Welfare 1) Might Osborne regionalise the benefits cap?

‘George Osborne has already announced the threshold will be reduced from £26,000 a year to £23,000 across Britain. But government sources indicated he could reduce it further outside London and the home counties – where the cost of properties is lower.’ – Daily Mail

  • Field urges the Chancellor to cut in-work benefits – The Times (£)
  • Housing benefit cuts are on the table – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Child poverty. What matters “is less how it is measured and more how it is tackled”

Welfare 2) Hilton: I was wrong on the Minimum Wage

Steve Hilton‘As a Tory researcher I worked on blood-curdling – and in retrospect, utterly spurious – campaigns like Labour’s Jobs Axe that predicted millions more unemployed if ever a minimum wage were introduced. Of course, it didn’t happen…in my book, More Human, I advocate what I describe as “business-friendly living wage” that requires companies to pay a living wage but cuts their employers’ national insurance by roughly the same amount to neutralise the overall impact. But to be honest, this is letting businesses off the hook. There are plenty that could perfectly well afford to pay the living wage. It’s a choice.’ – Steve Hilton, The Guardian

Two strikes and you’re out, for carrying a knife

‘Anyone caught twice in possession of a knife will be sent to jail from mid-July, in a huge victory for the Sun. Criminal Justice Minister Mike Penning last night revealed the Government will finally put a new ‘two strikes’ law into force on July 17. He said: “Knife crime should not be tolerated and it must be stopped.”’ – The Sun (£)

Collins: Heathrow shows Cameron’s tactical panic

GROWTH Krieg‘Tactical panic became something of a signature tune of the Brown team and there is something of the same flaw in Mr Cameron. He boxed himself into a quick referendum on Scottish independence and it is not obvious yet that he got away with it. While the rest of Europe is preoccupied with Greece, Mr Cameron is irritating other leaders with some footling issue about tax credits for immigrants because he never had the strategic intelligence to sort his party problem out years ago. He may well shimmy his way out of the corner again.’ – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Trade strategy under review

‘David Cameron has ordered an overhaul of the way the government promotes exports, raising speculation of job cuts at the trade arm held partly responsible for Britain’s sluggish sales performance. Mr Cameron has set a target of doubling the UK’s annual exports to £1tn by 2020, but official forecasters warned last year that export growth could average under 5 per cent a year from 2015 — less than half the rate needed.’ – FT

100 asylum seekers walk free from detention after ‘Home Office blunder’

Border‘More than 100 asylum seekers will walk free from detention centres after a Home Office blunder. The Government was last night forced to suspend a “fast track” detention procedure after admitting victims of torture or trafficking gangs may have been wrongly caught up in the system. Sources blamed paperwork errors.’ – The Sun (£)

  • New Danish Government slashes welfare for asylum seekers – Daily Mail
  • Why Britain is the real land of opportunity – Daily Telegraph

Battle to keep BP British

‘David Cameron will fight to keep BP British after the company was hit by a £12 billion fine that has left it at risk of foreign takeover. The oil company finally agreed the $18.7 billion penalty yesterday, the biggest paid by a single company in US history…BP shares have fallen by nearly £45 billion since the disaster. Analysts and bankers said that a weakened BP could be stalked by predators now the settlement was complete. Pascal Menges, of the Lombard Odier Global Energy Fund, said greater certainty made BP “more investable than before”.’ – The Times (£)

Polls show Greeks shifting towards a Yes vote

Greece flag greek‘Cash-starved Greeks are turning against their government and look ready to accept austerity measures in the referendum that will decide the country’s future in the eurozone. A poll published yesterday indicated, for the first time, that voters backing austerity outnumbered those opposed to the cuts demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Graeme Archer’s column: How we will leave

Hunt: Labour take the North East for granted

‘Labour took the people of Scotland for granted. We risk a similar fate in other parts of Britain where the phrase “Labour stronghold” has become code for complacency. Of the 29 seats in the northeast, we hold 26 of them. It is a region that needs a modern Labour agenda..But it is a region that, like too many other parts of Britain, has not heard us communicate it effectively enough.’ – Tristram Hunt MP, The Times (£)

  • Kendall: I’m the only one who isn’t ‘continuity Miliband’ – The Sun (£)
  • Tom Harris joins Reform Scotland – The Scotsman

Lamb: Half of Tory Ministers have tried drugs

LibDemDead‘Scores of Conservative Government ministers have “almost certainly” tried illegal drugs, according to a senior Liberal Democrat MP. Speaking at an event organised by the Institute of Public Policy Research thinktank on Wednesday evening, Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk, said that more half of ministers in this Government had smoked cannabis.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: The Deep End: Heresy of the week: A survival plan for the Liberal Democrats

News in Brief

  • Man kills himself after killing wife in despair over her dementia – The Times (£)
  • Man fined for swallowing goldfish he won at a fair – WalesOnline
  • What if Ken Clarke had become Tory leader? – Daily Telegraph
  • French union militants plan to continue their blockade of Channel crossings – Daily Mail
  • Officials considered moving Hong Kong’s entire population to Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph
  • Car garages charge women more than men for the same work – The Independent
  • Young Muslims fuel rise in sharia marriages – The Times (£)
  • Row sees Camila Batmanghelidjh leave Kids Company – The Guardian
  • Cutting edge fighter jets defeated in trials by 1970s ancestors – Daily Telegraph