Cameron orders military restructuring to focus on ISIS…

ISIS“Britain is to spend billions more on spy planes, unmanned drones and the SAS to take the fight to Islamic State. David Cameron has ordered top brass to restructure the Armed Forces to focus on countering the threat posed by Islamist extremists at home and abroad. Britain’s cyber-warfare capabilities will also be boosted in the revamp, which reflects concerns that the Forces are too focused on conventional fighting involving tanks and infantry. The Prime Minister, who last week agreed to maintain defence spending at a minimum of 2 per cent of national income, is convinced that the military also needs to be ready to deal with the so-called ‘asymmetric warfare’ practised by IS and Al Qaeda.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain to beef up its anti-terror arsenal – The Times (£)
  • MoD fears the Prime Minister’s terror plans – The Sun (£)
  • Cameron orders more missions against ISIS – Financial Times
  • Conservatives hope Labour will back bombing campaign in Syria – The Guardian


  • Future wars will need a more versatile response – Shashank Joshi, Daily Telegraph

>Today: The Deep End: You’ll never believe who might lead the Tories into the next election

…as Javid calls on Muslim parents to challenge extremist mosques

“British Muslims must do more to take on extremist views, including challenging Imams who refuse to condemn ISIS attacks, Sajid Javid said today. The Business Secretary, the most senior elected Muslim in the UK, warned that ‘non-violent extremists’ were making it easier for terrorists to recruit British children to their cause. He said parents should be willing to question the motives of Imams if they are concerned about the influence of mosques on their children. The call comes after David Cameron said too many British Muslims ‘quietly condone’ extremism. – Daily Mail

  • Business Secretary challenges the ‘silent mosques’ – The Times (£)


  • By keeping quiet, Muslims are condoning hate – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)


Pro-hunting MPs will stop agitating for full repeal if ban relaxed

fox“Pro-hunting Conservatives have vowed to drop their agitating to scrap the hunting ban by 2020 if MPs vote to relax the law this week. Farmers would be able to use a full pack of hounds to flush out foxes — but not kill them — under a plan to be put to a vote on Wednesday. The rule is already in place in Scotland, but only two dogs can currently be used in England and Wales. The fox is then shot. The plan to relax the law, championed by David Cameron, falls well short of a pledge in the Conservative manifesto to hold a vote on repealing the 2004 hunting ban completely. Such a vote would almost certainly result in the ban staying in place.” – The Times (£)

  • Labour calls on SNP to block move to bring English law into line with Scotland – The Independent


  • Relaxing the ban could retoxify the Tories – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

Experts claim new Treasury powers undermine Magna Carta

“Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘HMRC made 5.5 million errors last year, and giving the organisation powers over and above that set out in the principles of Magna Carta is hugely worrying. ‘Eight hundred years ago, the principle was set down that individuals would have recourse to the courts when challenged by the Crown or by what would become Parliament. Removing that protection is profoundly dangerous and we urge the government to reconsider this legislation as quickly as possible.’ The controversial move was hidden on page 94 of the Budget Red Book, rather than announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his speech.” – Daily Mail


  • Women are the real winners from Osborne’s living wage… – Daily Mail
  • …but councils need an extra £1 billion to pay it – Financial Times
  • Wage rise experiment flips convention on its head – Financial Times
  • Workers should ‘save for their own sick pay’ claims IDS – The Times (£)


  • Osborne must next bring high pay under control – Clare Foges, The Times (£)

Education 1) May gears up for fresh restrictions on foreign students

MAY Warhol“Theresa May is squaring up for another fight with Britain’s best universities after proposing curbs on postgraduate students from outside the EU. Proposals to stop the spouses and other dependants of the students from working in the UK have been circulated among cabinet colleagues by the home secretary. The ban is intended to make the UK less attractive and drive down numbers as the Conservatives aim to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000. Academics last night said that it risked damaging Britain’s future by undermining its research base in a range of key areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine. At present, postgraduate students accepted by British universities can bring their dependants if the course lasts more than a year and their family members can work in the UK.” – The Times (£)

Education 2) Morgan under pressure to approve new grammar

“The education secretary should approve “without delay” the first new grammar school in more than 50 years, according to the leading voice of Conservative backbench MPs. Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, is turning up the pressure on Nicky Morgan after Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has urged the government to rethink its opposition to extending selective education. In an article in The Times today, Mr Brady, recently re-elected to his position, endorses Mr Johnson’s claim that grammars drive social mobility. He writes: “Wherever grammar schools exist they are hugely popular but a crazy anti-social mobility law introduced by Tony Blair prohibits new grammar schools. A Conservative government that champions parental choice should scrap this law.”” – The Times (£)

  • Pupils should stand for teachers and address them as sir or miss, claims school inspector – Daily Mail

Comment and Editorial:

Education 3) Graham Brady MP: Grammar schools can destroy the class system

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“It is widely accepted that a golden age of opportunity in the 1950s and 1960s saw pupils from state grammars and direct grant schools storm the bastions of privilege. The public schools lost their grip on the upper reaches of the civil service, the judiciary and the professions. Even the BBC had to make room for talented grammar school graduates such as John Humphrys and Joan Bakewell. A new meritocratic age had dawned but then, as Boris Johnson told this paper on Saturday, the canals of social mobility were allowed to freeze over. If all state grammar schools had been swept away by the mindless egalitarianism of the Sixties, all this might be dismissed as a historical anomaly. Fortunately some parts of England (and the whole of Northern Ireland) had the wisdom to resist the destruction of great schools.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Joe Baron in Comment: The collective aims of education are being subordinated to raw, untrammelled individualism

MPs fury at Whittingdale’s ‘poll tax’ plan for BBC

“Ministers will this week propose plans for a controversial TV poll tax as a new way to fund the BBC, it has emerged. The idea to replace the licence fee with a new levy on every household has already been blasted by MPs on all sides as grossly unfair on those who don’t watch its channels. It was originally proposed by new Culture Secretary John Whittingdale when he ran the Commons media committee last year. Mr Whittingdale will ask for public feedback on it this week, as well as introducing subscription and payment for on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer.” – The Sun (£)

  • Ex-BBC chief Lord Lyons attacks ‘murky’ reform attempt – The Independent
  • State broadcaster faces second bruising battle with the Government – Financial Times
  • Director General accuses Tories of trying to ‘diminish’ Corporation – Daily Mail
  • Lord Hall vows to fight cuts – Daily Telegraph

Gove repeals prison book ban

michael-gove“Prisoners will be able to receive books as gifts direct from relatives and friends rather than being restricted to ordering new volumes from four approved retailers, following a relaxation of the rules by justice secretary Michael Gove. Mr Gove, who was appointed to his role in the Ministry of Justice after the election, has lost little time in overturning limits on prison reading put in place by his predecessor, fellow Conservative Chris Grayling. The new secretary of state has also abolished the restriction stating that inmates should only be allowed to keep 12 books in their cell without specific permission from the prison governor.” – Financial Times

Blunt to investigate £900,000 lost by Foreign Office in scam

“The Commons’ powerful Foreign Affairs Committee will investigate the disaster, its chairman confirmed last night. Senior Tory MP Crispin Blunt told The Sun: “The committee will examine this loss as part of our remit. The FCO’s budget is relatively small compared to other departments, and to lose such a sum cannot be lost in the margins. If they’re unable to recover it, it will have a real impact on our policy making capacity.”” – The Sun (£)

Boris Johnson: Greece must rediscover the spirit of Marathon to break its Euro shackles

“The message from Berlin is clear: either we take over the economic government of Greece, or we kick Greece out of the eurozone – and what is even more astonishing is that no one, in any other European country, is rallying to the side of the Greeks. After five years of crisis, the European Union has reached such depths of intellectual and spiritual exhaustion that ministers are willing to contemplate two appalling options: the immolation of Greek democracy or a Grexit that would almost certainly prove contagious to other eurozone members – including, ultimately, the French themselves.” – Daily Telegraph


Red Storm Rising: Labour leadership candidates rebel over benefit cut…

Labour holes“Labour’s post-election disarray grew yesterday after Harriet Harman failed to force its leadership candidates to sign up to a controversial benefit cut. The acting leader had announced that the party would not oppose limiting families’ tax credits to two children when the measures are put before the Commons next week. Within hours, however, three leadership candidates, including frontrunners Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, had rejected the move. A chaotic day of briefing and counter-briefing will deepen fears that Jeremy Corbyn, the outside candidate whose momentum caught rivals by suprise, is dragging the contest to the left. The Blairite candidate Liz Kendall is trailing while Tom Watson, another leftwinger, is favourite to be deputy.” – The Times (£)

  • Party struggles with the lessons of May 7 – Financial Times
  • Candidates criticise Harman’s non-confrontational position – The Guardian
  • Harman endorses cap on child tax credits – Daily Mail
  • Interim leader backs Tory policy – The Sun (£)
  • Families with four or more children received £3.8 billion last year – Daily Telegraph

…as rattled Labour elite launch ‘Operation Stop Corbyn’…

“Labour’s rattled elite has launched a ‘Stop Jeremy Corbyn’ campaign amid warnings that the hard-Left MP could lead the party to oblivion. Senior figures are pressurising local Labour branches not to declare their support for him. From acting leader Harriet Harman down they have warned against the dangers of electing the Marxist throwback as leader. Left-winger Diane Abbott said the Labour hierarchy was ‘panicking’ about the unexpected scale of Mr Corbyn’s popularity. She accused rivals of trying to paint him as the ‘political equivalent of bubonic plague’. Despite the attacks, support for Mr Corbyn, 66, is continuing to surge. He has cemented himself in second place among Labour activists. And a union source said the militant Unite union, which is backing his bid, has already signed up 50,000 members to vote in the leadership contest.” – Daily Mail

  • Left-winger in second as branches back his bid for leader – Daily Mail
  • Video: Hunt claims Labour won’t elect the champion of the Left – Daily Telegraph
  • Two-faced Burnham snubs The Sun – The Sun (£)


  • Corbyn gets a tax boost from Osborne’s Budget – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

…and Unite clears its path to illegal strikes

On strike“Britain’s biggest union has cleared the way for illegal strikes as it raises the stakes in a looming confrontation with the Conservatives over tougher laws on industrial action. Unite, which has nearly 1.5 million members, has passed a motion to remove a caveat from its rule book requiring protests to remain within the law. The union’s objectives will no longer be predicated with the phrase “so far as may be lawful”. On Wednesday, the government is expected to introduce tough new curbs requiring higher thresholds for legitimate strike action, setting up what could be the biggest showdown over industrial relations for a generation.” – The Times (£)

The strange death of the Liberal Democrats

““I think it’s very serious,” says Cable. “I don’t think it’s terminal: these things never are. But it’s extremely difficult, on two levels. One is that the values and policies that we stood for, and argued for, are currently out of favour with the public. That’s a problem that affects not just us, but the Labour party, too. There’s a big issue there.” A pause. “And simply in terms of numbers … well, we’ve lost over half our councillors. We’ve lost almost all our MPs and MEPs, and almost all the people in the Scottish Assembly. So, you know, the institutional level of decline is dramatic, and the problems of rebuilding that are very substantial … Rebuilding from a rather shattered base is not going to be easy.”” – The Guardian

News in Brief: