May “agrees deal” with France over Calais migrant crisis

Theresa May 14-04-15“Theresa May will travel to Calais tomorrow to unveil an agreement with the French on tackling the illegal immigration crisis. The Home Secretary’s visit will be the first by a cabinet minister since chaos erupted around the port earlier this summer. Officials say she will sign a deal with Bernard Cazeneuve, her French counterpart, following weeks of talks. It includes further improvements to security around the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais, including more fencing, lighting and cameras. In a linked move, more of Britain’s foreign aid budget is likely to be sent to countries in Africa where the migrants come from.” – Daily Mail

  • “After the meeting with Mrs May, Mr Cazeneuve will travel to Berlin to meet his German counterpart for talks on Europe’s migration policies.” – BBC
  • “Home Office officials had been trying to keep the deal secret; sources said last night that the details had not been finalised.” – The Times(£)

New fracking drive with more areas licensed to drill

“Licences for 27 areas, mostly in northern England and the Midlands, including near Nottingham, Sheffield, Lincoln and Preston, have been awarded to companies to explore for oil and gas. A further 132 areas, including parts of the West Country, the South Coast, the North East and North West, will follow suit subject to further environmental assessment and conditions to protect wildlife and habitats.” – Daily Mail

Inflation rises to 0.1 per cent

money“The UK’s inflation rate turned positive in July, with the Consumer Prices Index measure rising to 0.1% from June’s 0%. A smaller fall in the price of clothing was the main reason for the rise, the Office for National Statistics said. The Retail Prices Index measure of inflation was unchanged at 1% – the figure that will be used to calculate rail fare increases next year. CPI has been almost flat for the past six months, having turned negative in April for the first time since 1960.” – BBC

  • Interest rates to rise “pretty soon” – BBC

E-cigarettes should be free on the NHS says Public Heath England

“Health officials have endorsed e-cigarettes for the first time, claiming that they are a game-changer in the battle with smoking, the country’s biggest killer. Doctors should be able to prescribe e-cigarettes, Public Health England said yesterday, as it tried to debunk the myth that “vaping” was as bad for the health as inhaling tobacco smoke. If all of England’s eight million smokers switched to e-cigarettes overnight more than 75,000 lives a year would be saved, experts said. Not only are e-cigarettes 20 times less dangerous than tobacco, they are also among the most effective quitting aids, they added.”- The Times(£)

Baker plans new “career colleges”

BAKER Ken black and white“Dozens of “career colleges” – giving teenagers a taste of the world of work from the age of 14 – are to be opened across the country. The colleges are being set up by former Education Secretary Lord (Kenneth) Baker in an effort to prepare young people for practical careers – while addressing the country’s shortage of key skills.  In an interview with The Independent, Lord Baker revealed a network of 25 will be opened within four years. Currently, two are up and operational. The colleges are designed to train 14 to 19-year-olds in a range of occupational subjects including digital technology, construction, catering, engineering and health care. “The idea is to recruit at the age of 14 people who would be interested in going into this kind of work,” he said. “This would create a pathway towards developing the skills the country so badly needs.” – The Independent

DWP accused of publicising fake benefit claimants

“Ministers faced ridiculed today after admitting making up a number fake benefit claimants for a leaflet which heaped praise on the government’s controversial welfare reforms. The document carried pictures of two ‘claimants’ next to what was supposed to be their personal accounts of the sanctions system where benefits can be docked. But the Department for Work and Pensions was yesterday forced to concede ‘Sarah’ and ‘Zac’ did not exist and the images were stock photographs.” – Daily Mail

Perry challenged over “£15 fare” from Manchester to London

PERRY Claire“Rail minister Claire Perry provoked a storm yesterday when she told passengers facing rising train fares that they could buy a ticket between Manchester and London for as little as £15. In fact tickets at this price do not exist for any journey over the next three months. The row started when Miss Perry tried to defend the latest 1 per cent rail fare rise from early next year, by saying that for those booking well in advance, there were bargains to be had. She told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘You can get travel from Manchester to London for £15.’ But after checks by the Daily Mail and rail watchdog Transport Focus, Virgin West Coast confirmed there were no £15 tickets ‘currently’ on its system for any day over the next 12 weeks – the period for which advance fares are advertised.” – Daily Mail

Morgan wants a book club in every primary school

“Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and comedian David Walliams today launch a joint drive to open a book club in every primary school. The government is to fund the first 200 of them from the start of the new academic year next month. Hundreds more will be rolled out in the future. The cabinet minister and Little Britain star-turned-children’s author also want every eight year-old to enrol in their local library. It recently emerged one in seven kids aged eight to 16 never picks up a book outside of school. And one in five pupils leaves their primary unable to read well, rising to one in three among the poorest. David said: “Books fire children’s imaginations like nothing else can.” Ms Morgan added: “Every single child in this country deserves the opportunity to read, to read widely, and to read well.”- The Sun(£)

>Today: Local Government: Councils have created 71,000 new primary places in failing schools

Lewis urges ayslum for Afghan interpreters

LEWIS Dr Julian headshot“David Cameron must “urgently” offer sanctuary to Afghan interpreters including a translator who worked for him, the head of the defence select committee has said. Julian Lewis said it is “extraordinary” that the government is refusing to give asylum to those who have put themselves at risk for Britain. His warning came after reports that an Afghan military interpreter who was denied refuge in the UK had been killed while attempting to flee the Taliban. Mr Lewis said: “Everybody knows that in Afghanistan even the slightest suspicion or allegation that Afghans have helped Western forces amounts in effect to a death sentence.It is extraordinary that there should be any question of refusing sanctuary to a few hundred people who put themselves at risk in order to help the British mission in Afghanistan.” – Daily Telegraph

Christian Guy moves to Downing Street

“A bit of backroom housekeeping at Downing Street says a lot about the current Conservative Party. I understand Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Social Justice (and occasional Telegraph columnist) will soon be announced as David Cameron’s new special adviser on social policy…Where IDS and the CSJ see reform as about helping claimants climb out of dependency, Mr Osborne often sounded like he was more interested in punishing feckless shirkers on behalf of hardworking taxpayers. In this parliament though, IDS and his ideas are rather fashionable: the living wage in the Budget was proof of that, and Mr Guy’s appointment just underlines the point: compassionate Conservatism is making a quiet comeback.” – James Kirkup Daily Telegraph

Labour leadership 1): Corbyn hosted man who welcomed the murder of British soldiers

corbynleader“Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being a ‘cheerleader’ for a controversial fanatic who glorified the murder of British soldiers – after it emerged he twice hosted the Lebanese extremist Dyab Abou Jahjah in London. The runaway Labour leadership favourite invited the ‘well-known thug’ to the UK in 2009 to speak against the Iraq war at two separate events. The pair also addressed a second public meeting hosted by the then backbench MP for the Stop the War Coalition. Just after the meetings Jahjah was banned from entering Britain by the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith because of his extremist views. At the time, Mr Corbyn publicly attacked the decision to ban Jahjah from entering Britain, despite the fanatic just years earlier praising the killing of British troops. In 2004 Jahjah told a Flemish magazine: ‘I consider every dead American, British and Dutch soldier a victory.’ ” – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Could a future Tory leadership election see its own Corbyn Factor?

>Yesterday:ToryDiary: A consequence of Labour’s self-destruction: weakness in the face of ISIS

Labour leadership 2): Harman considered halting the contest

“Harriet Harman considered attempting to halt the Labour leadership contest amid concerns that controversy around the voting process could leave the result open to a challenge in court. Sources close to the acting party leader said she is so alarmed by the prospect of tens of thousands of non-Labour supporters voting in the contest that she discussed the prospect of pausing the election. The Telegraph understands that Ms Harman explored the possibility before being told that it would not be legally possible. However she has now instructed lawyers to ensure that the leadership election cannot be subject to a judicial review in the High Court after the result is declared on September 12.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour leadership 3): Foges – Fat cats to blame for rise of Corbyn

Foges“Where it looks like there are cosy corporate cabals stitching things up to reward the already very rich; when the gap between the suits and the check-out girls, warehousemen and drivers they employ stretches to breaking point, then we all recognise it as being morally wrong. Unsurprisingly, it makes us angry. Indeed, such anger may be one reason for Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable progress in the Labour leadership election. The veteran socialist’s dreams of creating Cuba in the North Sea may be absurd. He may not seem to grasp that it is only as a result of wealth creation that every state-funded doctor, nurse, teacher and police officer is paid for.  But his cries of social injustice do chime with a growing public mood.” – Claire Foges Daily Mail

>Today: The Deep End: The gap between wages and economic growth can’t be explained away

>Yesterday: Columnist Garvan Walshe: Four reasons for Corbyn’s resistable rise

Labour leadership 4): Demand for Ed Miliband to apologsise for “disastrous” voting system

“Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is facing calls to apologise for the “disastrous” voting system being used to elect his successor. Mr Miliband changed the system under which he was elected to “one member one vote” and allowed the public to take part for a £3 fee. The move was overwhelmingly backed by a special Labour conference last year. But backbench Labour MPs Simon Danczuk and Graham Stringer said the new system was too open to abuse.Mr Miliband, who is on holiday in Australia, has opted not to comment on the leadership election.” – BBC

Labour leadership 5): Burnham hits back at Cooper

Andy Burnham 07-08-15“Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham has said calls from rival Yvette Cooper for him to quit the contest are “disappointing” and “quite strange”. On Monday, a spokesman for Ms Cooper said he should step aside “if he isn’t prepared to offer an alternative” to left-wing frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn. But Mr Burnham insisted he was the only one who could beat Mr Corbyn. A source close to Ms Cooper has now told the BBC her campaign is “moving on” from the criticism of Mr Burnham.” – BBC

  • Call for truce over “Ed Balls playbook” slur – The Guardian
  • Children as young as seven should get sex education says Cooper – Daily Telegraph
  • Burnham would allow Labour candidates in Northern Ireland – The Guardian

Labour leadership 6): Corbyn says rail renationalisation would be popular

“Jeremy Corbyn put forward detailed proposals to renationalise Britain’s railways yesterday and suggested that the plan had widespread support. The Labour leadership frontrunner promised to start putting the network back under state control within months of the party taking power in 2020. “I think the public mood is there, absolutely there, saying, ‘Bring our railways back into public ownership.’ And we’ll all get a better and much more integrated system as a result,” he said.” – The Times(£)

…but would the EU let him do it?

EU Flag“Under EU law, member states are supposed to open up national freight and passenger markets to cross-border competition, a move that places a block on all-out nationalisation. It may prove particularly difficult in the face of some of the continent’s biggest state-owned rail companies such as Abellio and Deutsche Bahn, which hold a direct stake in UK franchises.” – The Times(£)

Welsh Assembly Conservative candidate investigated

“The Conservative candidate in one of the party’s top assembly election target seats is being investigated by the public services ombudsman. Powys county councillor Gary Price, standing for Brecon and Radnorshire next year, is alleged to have brought a local authority into disrepute. A formal complaint has also been made about his selection in an open primary last month. Mr Price had no comment to make about the investigation.” – BBC

North Yorkshire police find no evidence against Heath

“A police force has said it has found no evidence to link Sir Edward Heath to a crime in its area. However, North Yorkshire Police said it had passed a “piece of intelligence” to Wiltshire Police, the force leading inquiries into the former prime minister. The force added the intelligence was “not connected to the North Yorkshire area”. Wiltshire Police said it “wouldn’t discuss any intelligence passed to us”.” – BBC

Finkelstein:Memo to Cameron – leave the aggressive attacks to the Blairites

FINKELSTEIN Danny“By always allowing Labour critics to be more virulent about their new leader than you are, you reduce the risk that party solidarity drives centre-left voters and politicians back to their party home, bridling at the Tory attacks. A one-nation, non-partisan, respectful, gentle approach. This advice may perhaps seem a little detached from the battle and hard to follow when the moment comes. But then again, maybe distance lends perspective. I think it’s worth a try.” Daniel Finkelstein The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Dugdale to reveal top team – BBC
  • House prices soar – The Sun(£)
  • One drink a day increases risk of breast cancer – Daily Telegraph
  • Briton killed in Bangkok bombing – BBC

And finally.. Prime Minister spotted eating Pringles

cameronpringles“A teenage girl has added a new chapter to the politicians-eating-things file after filming David Cameron tucking into a tube of paprika Pringles. The PM was chomping on the £1.80 snack on an Easyjet flight to Portugal – sparking incredulity on social media. Fellow passenger Ashleigh was amazed too, telling her Twitter followers: “Guys I’m crying he was eating Pringles.” “I found the experience humbling,” she told BBC News.” – BBC