The Government plans to withdraw from the ECHR next time we go to war

Army‘Experts fear the growing litigation culture means that shooting an enemy fighter in the heat of battle could be enough for a British soldier to be found in breach the European human rights laws. Now ministers have ordered a fight-back to end the compensation claims that they say stop the Armed Forces doing their jobs…The plan being drawn up in Whitehall, disclosed by senior figures to the Telegraph, includes pulling out of the European Convention. Ministers could declare a temporary withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), before sending British forces into action in future.’ – Sunday Telegraph

IDS urges support for those losing tax credits

‘Iain Duncan Smith is demanding immediate action to offer help to people who will be hit by cuts to tax credits. The call by the work and pensions secretary comes amid growing concern in Tory ranks that the tax credit plans will torpedo the government’s claim to stand up for the working poor. In the first sign of cabinet tensions over the decision by the chancellor, George Osborne, to cut the handouts by £4.4bn, Duncan Smith is calling for his department, rather than HM Revenue & Customs, to break the news to those who will lose out.’ – Sunday Times (£)

>Today: Dominic Llewellyn on Comment: The Government can create opportunity for all in a new way – it’s time to focus on social outcomes

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Osborne should stand firm on Tax Credits – but raise the National Insurance threshold to ease the pain

Eurosceptic ministers fear a reshuffleEU Exit

‘David Cameron is facing a cabinet revolt over the European Union amid claims that he has ditched the vast majority of his demands in his renegotiation with Brussels. The prime minister was also accused last night of planning to purge his critics on Europe amid fresh claims that Downing Street is “panicking” about the referendum. Ministers say they believe Cameron is plotting a reshuffle to sack his most outspoken Eurosceptics ahead of the referendum to prevent a glut of resignations. Tory whips have also warned that he is “minded” to punish three MPs who opposed him on plans for a purdah period in the EU referendum campaign.’ – Sunday Times (£)

>Yesterday: John Stevens on Comment: It is the principle of the EU, not the renegotiation of the terms of membership, that matters

Church leaders are angered by Osborne’s Sunday trading plans

‘Church leaders have expressed their anger at the government for denying them a say over new Sunday trading laws, in a major clash between ministers and bishops. Senior aides to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, protested to ministers that the Church was not properly consulted before George Osborne announced plans to allow shops to open for longer on Sundays.’ – Sunday Telegraph

  • Bishops attack Cameron over refugee crisis – The Observer
  • How the Church and the Government fell out – The Observer
  • Tribunals give belief in the BBC the same protection as religious belief – Sunday Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Drop the Sunday trading plan

New grammar school may be ‘touch and go’ if challenged in court

MORGAN Nicky officiall version‘Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, approved the first new grammar school for 50 years despite legal advice that the chance of her decision surviving a challenge in the courts was little better than 50:50. Before giving the go-ahead to the 450-pupil school in Sevenoaks, Kent, Morgan was warned it was “touch and go” whether the High Court would accept her argument that it was an “annexe” to the Weald of Kent girls’ grammar in Tonbridge, nine miles away, rather than a new school.’ – Sunday Times (£)

£5 million for counter-radicalisation programmes

‘David Cameron today unveils a £5 million drive to help root out the ‘poison’ of extremist ideology in British communities. On the eve of the launch of the Government’s long-awaited counter-extremism strategy – billed as a plan to create a ‘national coalition’ against radicalisation – the Prime Minister said the money for local campaigns and charities would help prevent the ‘seed of hatred being planted in people’s minds’. The strategy is expected to include closer working between internet firms and police to remove online propaganda.’ – Mail on Sunday

Heffer: Reform the NHS or watch it die

NHS_Logo‘It would be untrue to say I have waited for a government to pick up Lord Fowler’s baton and start to address this problem. No government will address it, because it means having a very grown-up conversation with the public about the NHS, and whether the 1948 model works in 21st-century Britain. So rooted in sentiment and, therefore, unreality are public perceptions of the NHS that no politician dares challenge them. But such a discussion is urgent, because the alternative is collapse.’ – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: LISTEN: Hunt presents a “good deal for doctors”

Judge appointed to investigate Mark Clarke allegations

‘David Cameron has appointed a top judge to investigate allegations of blackmail, bullying and sexual abuse in the Tory Party that were exposed by The Mail on Sunday. And the party is to pay a private health clinic to offer counselling to activists left traumatised after the suicide of a young Tory who was bullied by one of the Prime Minister’s election aides. Edward Legard, an Old Etonian contemporary of the Prime Minister, will lead an inquiry following the suicide of Elliott Johnson, 21, last month.’ – Mail on Sunday

Fox: Interest rates must rise

growth flag‘I am not an economist, but I am a stakeholder — a taxpayer, a mortgage holder and a saver.The government is making a valiant attempt to reduce our deficit. Yet what if the fear of rising rates and the impact on short-term political fortunes are holding us back from decisions that might actually improve our chances of economic success and with it the revenues that will help close the deficit gap without the need for future tax rises or even deeper spending cuts? What if, in terms of interest rates, we have got ourselves in the “pusher and addict” relationship?’ – Liam Fox MP, Sunday Times (£)

2002 memo reveals Blair’s early support for war in Iraq

‘The damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas. In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’. The disclosure is certain to lead for calls for Sir John Chilcot to reopen his inquiry into the Iraq War if, as is believed, he has not seen the Powell memo. A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public opinion in favour of the war.’ – Mail on Sunday

Danczuk: My party has become a farce

LABOUR holes‘A strong opposition Labour party should be able to get the Government to U-turn on their cuts to tax credits. These are deeply unpopular even among some Tory MPs. But right now Boris Johnson is piling more pressure on George Osborne than Jeremy Corbyn is. When we need to launch a powerful attack, Jeremy Corbyn turns up with a peashooter. The Labour leadership should be holding the Tories’ feet to the fire. But instead we’re effectively shining their shoes. To use John McDonnell’s new catchphrase, for the millions of people who didn’t vote Tory and want a credible opposition, it’s embarrassing.’ – Simon Danczuk MP, Mail on Sunday

Luckhurst: Our free press is under threat

‘Press freedom in Britain faces a dire and immediate threat. Here in the UK we face the prospect of a state-sanctioned regulator, backed by Royal Charter, exercising ultimate control over what we can read in our newspapers. Abroad, campaigners for freedom of speech, who consider this country’s tradition an example to emulate, face grotesque betrayal. The reason? A poisonous trap, left on the statute book in the aftermath of the Leveson Report, is about to snap shut. If it closes it will impose the most severe restrictions on the freedom of the press in any advanced democracy.’ – Tim Luckhurst, Mail on Sunday

News in Brief