As Conference begins, Cameron says: If Europe doesn’t reform, I could lead Britain out…

EU Exit“David Cameron today warns EU leaders to ‘fix it’ for Britain or he will lead us to the exit door. … The PM reveals for the first time he would be prepared to head the out campaign in a referendum if he fails to win us a better deal. … In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, he admits he has ‘a job to do’ to convince our army of readers that we should stay in. … But asked if he could see himself leading the out campaign, he replied: ‘If we don’t get what I want, I’ve said I’ll rule nothing out. And by that I mean I’ll rule nothing out.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Fears are growing that the European Union will impose tough new trading terms on the UK should Britons vote to leave the bloc in the In/Out referendum which must be held by 2017.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Ministers were urged to send troops to the Channel Tunnel last night after it was ‘invaded’. … A gang of 120 migrants desperate to reach Britain stormed it after overwhelming security staff in Calais.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “David Cameron is being urged to back new EU controls on gas boilers by the coroner who investigated how two British children died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The owner of Blackwell’s bookshops will bankroll the growing grassroots campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, declaring that the referendum represents a new ‘Battle for Britain’.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“…it is depressing to hear the Prime Minister admit that he has given up hope of getting the now farcical ‘freedom of movement’ rules scrapped. … Neither do we think that he is serious about backing a UK exit if he does not get his way — that is a bluff.” – Sun on Sunday editorial (£)
  • “There is little sign that the prime minister is building the alliances needed for successful renegotiation and reform.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “Whether it is over-promising what he can get from the EU, setting an impossible migration target or committing to a welcome increase in the minimum wage but without a plan to boost productivity, Cameron is prone to adopting short-term fixes to postpone dealing with long-term issues.” – Observer editorial
  • “Divisions over Europe will explode in a series of meetings on the conference fringe, as rival ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns gear up for the referendum promised by Cameron by the end of 2017.” – Toby Helm, The Observer
  • “The prime minister’s discomfort over the EU vote could be eased from an unlikely quarter… Nigel Farage” – Rob Ford, The Observer
  • “The Brexiteers are against a lot of things. That’s not enough.” – Catherine Bearder, Independent on Sunday

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Should Britain leave the EU? Come and hear Steve Baker at ConHome’s Conservative Conference fringe meeting

…but does he actually mean it?

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron is facing a showdown with EU judges and his party on Europe this week, amid claims he has privately pledged not to pull Britain out of the EU. … a new biography reveals Cameron has repeatedly said privately that he has no intention of leading Britain out of the EU. … The book, by Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott, details how the prime minister has watered down the demands he is making in his renegotiation with Brussels.” – Sunday Times (£)

Read Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott’s revelations about Cameron and Europe (£)

  • “Samantha and David Cameron put on a united front yesterday as they watched their son play football amid attempts to smear their marriage by a snubbed peer. … Mrs Cameron is reportedly furious about allegations made in Lord Ashcroft’s unofficial biography about the Prime Minister, Call Me Dave.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Lord Ashcroft, co-author of a controversial book about David Cameron, has become embroiled in a tax avoidance investigation, it has emerged.” – Independent on Sunday

The Prime Minister orders “super-drones” as part of a £600 million offensive against ISIS

Drone“Britain is to buy a new fleet of super-drones to spearhead an all-out blitz on IS. … David Cameron wants jihadists in Syria and Iraq targeted as part of a £600million offensive. … The PM decided to invest further after drones killed two Brit jihadists in Syria last month. And he says he will not hesitate to order further strikes. … He told The Sun on Sunday: ‘We need to address the threat of terrorism from every angle.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Britain’s special forces will be the biggest beneficiaries of the forthcoming defence review as the country prepares to take military action in Syria to help wipe out Isil, the Prime Minister discloses.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “David Cameron has claimed Russia is backing ‘the butcher’ President Bashar al-Assad rather than fighting terrorism in Syria.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “An organisation condemned by the Government as ‘linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence’ was cleared to host an official reception inside the secure zone at this week’s Conservative Party conference.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Which side are we really on in this war of the awful against the evil?” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “Putin sees intervention in Syria as a way out of his current isolation.” – Petr Kozlov, The Observer
  • “Let’s welcome Russia’s entry into this war.” – Patrick Cockburn, Independent on Sunday
  • “Vladimir Putin can sense our weakness.” – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph
  • “…perhaps the Russian president had to pinch himself before realising that the West had left him with such a vacuum in which to operate.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “David Cameron needs to talk about Syria at the Conservative conference.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

The last Briton in Guantanamo Bay tells of his ordeal. Davis calls for torture inquiry

David Davis“The last Briton held in Guantanamo Bay – now hoping to be freed within weeks – has given a searing account of his 14-year ordeal to The Mail on Sunday. … Last night senior Conservative MP David Davis said this newspaper’s revelations ‘massively strengthened’ the case for an independent inquiry into Britain’s alleged involvement in the systematic torture of terror suspects. … He said: ‘Only by dealing with it can we restore our nation’s honour and integrity.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Lies, torture and the fight for Iraq truth.” – Mail on Sunday editorial

From gangsta rap to the Tory leadership, Osborne opens up to the Mail on Sunday…

OSBORNE of the north“Chancellor George Osborne has given his most revealing interview yet… in which he talks about how his son almost drowned, how he wooed his wife from under a close friend’s nose – and his own personal ambitions. … He ruled out a path to power now, saying he deserved to be sacked if he showed disloyalty to David Cameron. But he conceded that when the time comes for Cameron to leave No 10, he would ‘see how it flies’. … Osborne said Britain could ‘walk tall’ and had ‘got its mojo back’ thanks to the economic revival.” – Mail on Sunday

Read the Mail on Sunday’s interview with George Osborne in full

(Plus: he lists the Angel of the North, pictured right, as one of his favourite works of art.)

  • “George Osborne’s aim of becoming Prime Minister has received an unexpected boost – from his former Coalition sparring partner Vince Cable. … The former Liberal Democrat Minister paid tribute to Osborne’s ‘exceptional intellect, depth and trusting nature’.” – Mail on Sunday

…but could up to 18 ministers and former ministers stand against him?

“David Cameron is facing a cabinet revolt over attempts to ensure a ‘coronation’ for George Osborne as Tory leader when the prime minister quits. … Amid fury that the Tory conference will be arranged to further Osborne’s interests, at least 18 ministers and former ministers are now actively discussing standing against the chancellor. … One cabinet minister, however, told The Sunday Times they would not stand for a ‘cosy stitch-up’ and another condemned the briefing as an example of ‘George’s ambition getting the better of him’.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “There are, however, two known possible obstacles to Osborne’s ambition. One is the referendum; the other is Conservative Party members, who will have the final choice between the two candidates presented to them. These obstacles are connected: 58 per cent of Tory members want to leave the EU, according to a survey by the ConservativeHome website in February.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • “Look closer and austere George no longer seems a shoo-in for No 10.” – Adam Boulton, The Sunday Times (£)

The Chancellor plans to pay grandparents to look after their grandchildren

UK notes and coins“Millions of grandparents could be paid by the State to look after their grandchildren under radical reforms to be introduced by Chancellor George Osborne. … For the first time, they will be able to claim paid ‘granny leave’ or ‘grandpa leave’ – at £140 a week – to look after new grandchildren for up to a year. … The Chancellor is to announce that new parents will be able to transfer their parental leave allowance to their newborn’s grandparents, allowing them to get back to work quicker, if they wish.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Funding for David Cameron’s flagship election pledge to give working parents 30 hours a week of free childcare will fall short by £1bn a year, a new report has claimed.” – Independent on Sunday

Greening: The Conservatives can offer a British Dream

“The Conservative Party can offer people from working-class backgrounds the ‘British Dream’ where there is no bar to social mobility, International Development Secretary Justine Greening will say. … In a sign that David Cameron will make an audacious bid for Labour voters when he addresses his party conference in Manchester this week, Ms Greening sets out her vision for ‘levelled-up Britain’, a version of the American Dream where anyone can achieve what they want through hard work and where ‘rough diamonds’ are given opportunities.” – Independent on Sunday

> Yesterday: Stephen Crabb and Ruth Davidson on Comment – Our upbringing, strong women, hard work – and the One Nation vision that inspires us

Feldman to announce bursary scheme for Tory candidates

Lord Feldman“The Conservatives are to spend £250,000 to help more working-class Tories become MPs at the next election in five years’ time. … Lord Feldman, the party’s chairman, will announce the new means-tested bursary scheme to support Conservative parliamentary candidates at the opening of the Tory conference in Manchester. … The programme is intended to give more opportunities to Tory supporting candidates who would otherwise be unable to afford to give the time to campaigning to win a seat in 2020.” – Sunday Telegraph

Tougher language tests put the Government on a collision course with universities

“Ministers are on a collision course with universities over plans to slash the number of foreign students coming to Britain by at least 25,000 a year by setting tougher English language tests. … Home Office officials last week held a workshop with representatives of the universities to spell out plans to ditch the existing system and replace it with the more rigorous international English language testing system.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Britain’s top private schools have warned that they are facing an ‘unprecedented’ outbreak of self-harm, eating disorders and depression among high-flying pupils weighed down by exam pressures, social media and family breakdown.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “More than half of teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next two years, according to a YouGov poll.” – The Observer

Ministers accused of hiding unflattering NHS statistics

NHS“Government ministers have buried NHS statistics that show the service hurtling towards an unprecedented £2bn deficit to avoid overshadowing the Tory party conference, say top NHS officials. … One senior figure at the health service regulator Monitor said his organisation had been ‘leaned on’ by Whitehall to delay its report, which shows that NHS finances are worsening. … Neither Monitor’s quarterly report on how the NHS is faring, nor equivalent data from the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), have been published, as they usually are around the time of the organisations’ board meetings last month.” – The Observer

  • “Doctors and nurses need to ‘step up to the plate’ and help tackle a crisis of leadership in the NHS, the chief inspector of hospitals has said.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Doctors in parts of Kent and Wirral are 30 times more likely to prescribe drugs to control the behaviour of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than those in other parts of the country, official NHS data reveals.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Men in England with prostate cancer are being denied an inexpensive drug that could give them an additional two years of life — while Scottish patients receive the treatment.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • “On welfare and the NHS, the PM must act fast – and with unflinching resolve.” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

The Telegraph continues its serialisation of Moore’s Thatcher biography

THATCHER black and white“David Willetts, then in the Downing Street Policy Unit and later a government minister, recalled that when working for Mrs Thatcher during the miners’ strike the comparison with a civil war was apposite. … ‘You would be in a meeting with Mrs T on some other subject and messengers would come in with reports like “Kent is solid . . . Nottingham is with us . . . Yorkshire is in rebellion.” It did feel like a scene from one of Shakespeare’s history plays.'” – Charles Moore, Sunday Telegraph

Further extracts:

And comment:

  • “The Conservatives should conjure the spirit of Margaret Thatcher in Manchester.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

Militant councils to be banned form boycotting products

“Councils and local authorities are to be blocked from boycotting Israeli products or pursuing other foreign policy goals that conflict with the government. … Conservative aides said the measure was a response to growing concern about the ‘militant actions of leftwing councils’ that they claimed was spurred on by the Labour leadership. … The Cabinet Office minister, Matthew Hancock, said the action was intended to prevent ‘playground politics’ from councils.” – The Observer

  • “Every local authority in Scotland will ignore the terms of the Government’s contentious Trade Union Bill, making the legislation unworkable north of the border.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Militant bakers’ union bosses have waged online hate campaigns, with one even comparing David Cameron to Adolf Hitler.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Continuous criticism of Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn“Jeremy Corbyn today faced a post-conference barrage of friendly fire as Labour backers lined up to condemn his leadership. … Labour MP Simon Danczuk openly criticised Corbyn for failing to seize his chance to speak to the nation. … And actress Maureen Lipman tore into Corbyn for allegedly consorting with anti-Semitic figures, while also challenging him to publicly back the state of Israel. … In a final setback for Corbyn, a company now headed by the Labour leader’s new housing adviser was linked with tax avoidance.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A leading Labour supporter has called in a £2m loan as a deepening donor backlash against Jeremy Corbyn leaves the party facing a financial crisis.” – Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Frank Field: Corbyn can outflank the Tories over tax credits

“Thanks to his working tax credit changes, Osborne has unknowingly put depth-charges under his 2020 election strategy and timed the first explosions to occur in every constituency next April. This is the date when mega-cuts in the living standards of strivers will come into force. … Here again Labour can get on to the front foot. By throwing the party into the defence of the strivers, Corbyn will begin to change Labour’s image while doing nothing to undermine our protection of families who are on benefit.” – Frank Field, The Observer

  • “More than three million lower-paid households will lose an average of £1,350 a year under planned tax credit cuts, a new report has found.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

More Corbyn-related comment:

  • “One senior Labour figure characterised the mood among his parliamentary colleagues as ‘ranging from the clinically depressed to the completely suicidal’ – and that was a member of the shadow cabinet speaking.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • “‘You don’t have to take what you’re given,’ says Jez. He’s grasped Toryism.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • “A Jeremy Corbyn ‘victory party’ will be held tomorrow at the most unlikely place: Conservative Party Conference.” – Guido Fawkes, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Watson is playing a blinder, and the Tories should pay attention.” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Jeremy Corbyn’s message to his party: don’t plan my funeral just yet.” – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph

Denis Healey RIP

Denis Healey“Denis Healey, one of the most towering figures of the post-war Labour Party, died yesterday aged 98. … The pugnacious former Chancellor fought long-running battles against Labour’s militant Left-wingers – including current leader Jeremy Corbyn – and was frequently described as the best Prime Minister the party never had. … But the peer was also renowned for his cultural ‘hinterland’ – he was a pianist who enjoyed opera, history, painting and photography – and for his long and happy marriage to his wife Edna, who died in 2010 aged 92.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Denis Healey was one of the best prime ministers Britain never had.” – Michael White, The Observer

Galloway questioned by police (again)

“Former MP George Galloway has been questioned by police over allegations that he broke the law by publicly lying about a rival candidate during May’s Election campaign, The Mail on Sunday has learned. … Mr Galloway, the leader of Respect who is now standing for Mayor of London, was questioned after the Labour MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, made a complaint to police.” – Mail on Sunday

News in brief

And finally 1) Captain James T. Salmond

SALMOND smiling“As leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond tried to boldly go where none of his predecessors had gone before and win independence for Scotland. … But the former First Minister overreached himself when he booked on to a British Airways flight as Star Trek’s James T. Kirk, captain of the starship Enterprise.” – Mail on Sunday

And finally 2) Santa Corbs

“He is a red leftie with a white beard who likes nothing better than a handout. … But Jeremy Corbyn once surprised his family by dressing up as Santa. … Our exclusive photo shows the Labour leader, 66, dishing out gifts two years ago.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And finally 3) Grantham, town of Thatcher and… Viagra

“Granthan, Margaret Thatcher’s home town, has been revealed as England’s Viagra and Cialis ‘capital’, with the most prescriptions by doctors per patient, according to NHS data. … At Christchurch Methodist chapel, where Thatcher worshipped in the 1930s with her family, the Rev Jane Campbell said: ‘Grantham was once voted the most boring town in England. You could say this is just another form of recognition.'” – Sunday Times (£)