Commons Written Answer: Fallon says that British air strikes ‘have killed hundreds of Islamic State fighters in past year’…

Michael Fallon 02-07-15“He wrote: “The estimated number of ISIL fighters killed as a result of UK strikes from September 2014 to 31 August 2015 is around 330. This figure is highly approximate, not least given the absence of UK ground troops in a position to observe the effects of strike activity. We do not believe there have been any civilian casualties as a result of UK strike activity. Any overall estimates would be a matter for the coalition.” – Daily Express

  • UK looks to salesmen-soldiers to keep British arms industry afloat – Financial Times
  • Chief of defence staff concerned over lack of UK military support – The Guardian
  • Davis questions Government argument over drone killings – PoliticsHome
  • British Isis member complains of ‘rude Arabs’ who steal his shoes, eat like children and won’t queue – The Independent

Commons Oral Statement: May tells the House that first group of Syrian refugees will arrive within days

Screen shot 2015-09-17 at 08.22.28“The refugees will come from camps in countries on Syria’s border and will count towards the 20,000 which the UK has agreed to take over the next four and a half years. Mrs May said the Government was ‘working at speed’ to plan for even more arrivals in the coming weeks.” – Daily Mail

  • Clarke: put migrants in “safe haven” camps outside EU. Cash: Germany exploiting crisis to solve “own internal economic problems” – Daily Mail
  • We must keep Europe Christian, says Hungarian Prime Minister – The Times (£)
  • Church leaders claim that May’s new law to ban legal highs could outlaw incense and criminalise priests – Daily Mail
  • May seeks to revive surveillance laws – Financial Times
  • You’ve got to be harsh to be kind to migrants – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • Merkel muddle – Sun Editorial (£)

…as Blunt suggests that Hammond lacks grip on Syria strategy

“Philip Hammond last week rejected a suggestion from MPs that just 54 moderate fighters finished an American-led scheme backed by Britain, insisting that the true figure was “in the thousands”. However, in a letter “clarifying” remarks made during a hearing of the foreign affairs select committee, his principal private secretary confirmed that 54 was, in fact, the correct number.” – The Times (£)

Meanwhile, Cameron demands University crackdown on hate preachers. Worst offenders named and shamed

Cameron1“The unit named and shamed the worst offenders – Queen Mary, King’s College, SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and Kingston – all universities in London. Security officials also have concerns about the number of young people being radicalised and travelling to join Islamic State jihadis.” The Government has urged the National Union of Students to drop its opposition to the anti-radicalisation strategy, which critics have claimed will create a culture of suspicion at academic institutions and could restrict freedom of speech. – Daily Mail

Clark: The Government may take over Birmingham

“And asked if this made a devolution deal impossible, he replied: “The leadership has not been as fleet of foot as I think is needed for the scale of the opportunity, not just for the city of Birmingham but for the West Midlands.” Mr Clark also suggested the Government would consider taking over Birmingham City Council if it failed to improve.” – Birmingham Post

The BBC should make licence fee available abroad, says Whittingdale

BBC logo“The BBC should ensure that people are able to use the iPlayer when they travel abroad, the Culture Secretary has said.John Whittingdale called on the BBC and other online services such as Netflix and ITV Player to ensure that viewers who have legitimately paid for their content are able to access it when they are out of the country.” – Daily Telegraph

Javid to overhaul trade arm in export drive

“The business secretary admitted the export market remained a “challenge” and said he was taking a “fresh look” at UKTI, whose staff were invited on Wednesday to apply for a voluntary “exit scheme”. Mr Javid, who is also leading the government’s new export task force, is significantly redistributing the work of UKTI as sectoral exports are reassigned to individual government departments.” – Financial Times

Cabbies storm City Hall after Boris “insult”

BORIS angel devil“After the mayor was asked about the introduction of electric vehicles in London, he said: “Can I just say to all the luddites in the room who don’t want to see new technology . . .” He was then drowned out by shouting from the gallery and the meeting was suspended. One protester appeared to throw paper towards assembly members in the chamber as Mr Johnson rose to leave.” – The Times (£)

  • Mayor: I have nothing to hide over West Ham Olympic Stadium deal – The Guardian
  • Über competitors form global Alliance – Financial Times
  • Caroline Pidgeon is LibDem Mayoral candidate – PoliticsHome

> Today: ToryDiary – Boff is the star of this selection show. But we should choose to win. And that means Zac Goldsmith as Mayoral candidate.

Corbyn rules out backing the EU Out campaign…or does he?

Screen shot 2015-09-17 at 08.33.06“Asked if he could see a situation in which Labour campaigned for a British exit from the European Union if the prime minister negotiated a bad deal, Corbyn said in a BBC interview: “No, I don’t see that position because I think we are going to be working with trade unions and social groups all across Europe as well as social groups in this country.” – The Guardian

  • Cameron and Osborne pay the £1.7 billion Brussels bill which they dismissed as ‘totally unacceptable’ – Daily Mail
  • Labour’s leaders must accept that the Party backs Europe – Alan Johnson, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: The Conservatives should not deploy money or manpower either way in the EU Referendum campaign

Other Corbyn news

  • Labour donor tells MPs to quit party – The Times (£)
  • Party in disarray over benefits cap – The Guardian
  • Burnham reported over “cash for access” – The Sun (£)
  • Bank of England Governor raises eyebrows at “People’s QE” – Daily Mail
  • Economists warns over economic policy – The Sun (£)
  • No, we may need his People’s QE – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Privy Council membership muddle – Daily Mail
  • He threatened to abolish grammar schools during his leadership campaign: what’s the position? – The Independent
  • He says he will sing the National Anthem, Labour says he may not know all the words – The Times (£)
  • He accepts pay rise to £125,000 and an official car – Daily Mail
  • He blames the media over BBC cameraman injury – The Sun (£)
  • Diane Abbot and Jess Phillips clash over Corbyn sexism claims – The Times (£)
  • Corbyn and Abbott were lovers – The Times (£)
  • Labour names a Director of Rebuttal – Daily Telegraph

> Today: Daniel Hannan MEP – Corbyn was the only moderate among the Labour leadership candidates – on the EU

Mark Wallace on Corbyn’s PMQs debut: Even bearpit politics is better than this dishwater debate

Screen shot 2015-09-17 at 08.31.31“His new approach to PMQs, to read out questions sent in by supporters and members of the public, was fine – but only fine. Fine in the sense of plain porridge, or a grey day on which it neither rains, blows nor shines. Fine because he survived intact, while Cameron was given a safe platform to talk about how well the government is doing. There was no sign of real scrutiny in the proceedings.” – The Guardian

  • Cameron blasts John McDonnell for praising the IRA – Daily Express
  • Shadow Chancellor to appear on BBC Question Time – The Guardian
  • For all Mr Corbyn’s fine words about “giving people a voice”, the idea was really a well-spun gimmick – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn “made PMQs gutless, bloodless, bland, beige” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • This New Politics shows his weakness – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • Andrew Turner victory: Government to step in to help import tiger after his PMQs plea to Cameron – The Guardian

> Yesterday – Andrew Gimson’s PMQ’s sketch: Corbyn dared to be serious, sincere, worthy, wordy, puritanical and dull

Nick Cohen: My resignation letter from the Left

COHEN Nick“I realise now what I should have known years ago. The causes I most care about — secularism, freedom of speech, universal human rights — are not their causes. Whatever they pretend, when the crunch comes, they will always put sectarian unity first, and find reasons to be elsewhere. So, for what it is worth, this is my resignation letter from the left. I have no idea who I should send it to or if there are forms to fill in. But I do know this: like so many before me, I can claim constructive dismissal.” – The Spectator

  • Where does the humiliated Centre-Left go now – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • Corbyn’s an elitist, not a populist – Allister Heath, Financial Times

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Swinney and SNP threaten to block new Holyrood powers

Scottish flag“On the one-year anniversary of “the Vow” to give the Scottish Parliament more powers, the finance secretary received cross-party support for his demand to “strengthen” the measures in the Scotland Bill to reflect the original Smith Commission plans…But, at Westminster, David Cameron challenged the SNP to set out how the plans for enhanced devolution fall short of the Vow and accused the Nationalists of “bluster” over the issue.” – Scotsman

Daily Mail: “Nick’s” smears, police hysteria

“Nobody believes more passionately than the Mail that child abuse is a vile crime, whose victims must never be ignored. But today, this paper reveals that Scotland Yard’s inquiry is under review, amid ‘grave doubts’ about Nick’s testimony.” – Daily Mail Editorial

  • The abuse of police bail by detectives is a scandal that must be addressed by parliament with time limits and judicial oversight – Times Editorial

News in Brief

  • Big Deal win as Big Six lose 100,000 households to ground-breaking green energy scheme – The Independent
  • Carly Fiorina is star performer as The Donald Trump Show winds down in second GOP clash – The Independent
  • Welby holds crisis talks to prevent a church split – The Times (£)
  • McGuinness set to appear at Stormont Nama probe – Irish News
  • Workers get biggest pay leap in 13 years – The Sun (£)
  • Facebook says it means business at work – Financial Times
  • Police investigating The Call Centre star’s Facebook claim that babies with Down’s Syndrome should be ‘put down’ – Wales Online
  • Chile earthquake: not many dead – but millions evacuated – Daily Telegraph
  • Elton John Russia gay population economy claim during hoax Putin phone call – Daily Mail
  • Ryedale Conservative Councillor baffled by women’s banter at council meeting – Daily Telegraph
  • Emilia Clarke slams reports that she hates Game of Thrones sex scenes – Daily Express
  • Ninth Duke of Wellington elected to Lords – The Guardian