Osborne vows to rein in Lords after humiliation

OSBORNE Horatius“George Osborne vowed last night to rein in the power of the Lords after he suffered a humiliating defeat over his plan to cut tax credits by £4 billion. The chancellor said that the unprecedented vote, which left his budget policy in limbo, raised constitutional issues about unelected peers that would be ‘dealt with’ by himself and the prime minister. In an indication that he would soften the blow of the cuts, which are likely to leave three million people poorer by an average of £1,300 in the short term, Mr Osborne promised to set out help for the worst affected groups in the autumn statement at the end of November” – The Times (£)


The Lords do guilt rather well

“Our upper chamber may seem batty to outsiders, but somehow it works. Yesterday the government was defeated by a collection of lords representing the poor, of whom the only elected members are hereditary peers, presided over by a largely mute speaker perched on a huge red cushion, while a bishop read a sermon from an iPad… The House of Lords may have a gilt complex, but it does guilt rather well too” – Patrick Kidd’s sketch, The Times (£)

  • The edifice of the Establishment Left was in full gallop – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Baroness Hollis blows apart the case for cuts – Donald Macintyre, Independent

Experts urge Tories to phase in tax credit reforms

Tax Take“The government could easily slow the pace of tax-credit cuts and still meet its deficit target, tax and welfare experts told MPs on Monday, as research showed that two-thirds of the recipients of working tax credits would be worse off by 2020… During a two-hour evidence session, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Resolution Foundation set out the impact of the tax credit cuts, and the best way to mitigate the changes” – Guardian

Kirkup: How Osborne responds to defeat will define his future

“George Osborne gambled over tax credits. He lost. Now he must decide whether to fold, or go all in. His choice could determine whether he becomes prime minister… The most political question of all is what happens to Mr Osborne, who now faces a situation as bleak as the cold summer of 2012 when the Omnishambles Budget decision to cut the top rate of income tax made him all too easy to paint as an unfeeling Tory toff” – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

  • Tax the wealthy to atone for Osborne’s raid on the poor – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • Even the House of Lords couldn’t stomach Osborne’s tax credit cuts – Polly Toynbee, Guardian
  • Osborne’s Budget charter is the source of all his difficulties – Steve Richards, Independent
  • Has Osborne given up his economic dream? Ed Conway, The Times (£)

Cameron may go for “associate” EU membership

EU Exit“David Cameron may rebrand his new deal for Britain in the EU as ‘associate membership’ in a bid to save flagging renegotiations. The PM fears his current demands from Brussels may not be enough alone to convince voters to stay at a landmark referendum. To sell the offer, No10 aides are instead looking at formally downgrading the UK’s membership to second or outer-tier which would leave Britain free of further meddling” – The Sun (£)

  • It’s time to get off the EU bus – Daniel Hannan MEP, The Sun (£)
  • Cameron needs to realise that we’re not stupid enough to be fobbed off with name changes – The Sun Says (£)
  • Britain needs the EU as much as it needs Britain – Jean-Claude Juncker, The Times (£)
  • Top German pleads with Scotland not to leave EU – Herald


Gauke averts rebellion by promising to fight “tampon tax” in Brussels

“Ministers last night avoided a defeat in the Commons by pledging to lobby the European Union to scrap the so-called tampon tax. A dozen Tory backbenchers had threatened to support a Labour amendment to the Finance Bill calling for the VAT rate imposed on sanitary products to be lowered. The 5 per cent rate is determined by the EU, and Treasury minister David Gauke had admitted that it would be difficult to persuade all the other member states to reduce the VAT on tampons to zero. But yesterday he pledged to take the fight to scrap the tax to Brussels” – Daily Mail

Gove raised standards, says Ofsted

GOVE, Michael blue sky“Primary schools have improved over the last five years thanks to renewed focus on old-fashioned teaching methods, the head of Ofsted has said. Sir Michael Wilshaw said young children are now mastering the basics of reading more effectively thanks to schools ditching trendy methods in favour of phonics teaching. His comments will be seen as a victory for former education secretary Michael Gove” – Daily Mail

Troops ordered not to attend Blackman rally

“Members of the Armed Forces have been ordered not to attend a Westminster rally later this week where more than 1,000 people are expected to turn out in support of Sgt Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine convicted of murdering a Taliban fighter. Commanders fearing a public show of support from troops for Blackman have repeatedly warned them they face disciplinary punishment if they attend the event in London” – Daily Telegraph

  • A “rigged” trial and a hero betrayed by the top brass – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Mail

Corbyn’s policy chief could get expelled from Labour

LABOUR dead rose“Jeremy Corbyn’s hard Left policy chief is already facing expulsion from the Labour Party, it was confirmed last night. Andrew Fisher is being investigated by a party committee after telling voters in his constituency not to vote Labour at the General Election – and to back the anarchist Class War party instead. The inquiry comes as a string of Labour MPs vented their fury at the appointment of Mr Fisher” – Daily Mail

  • Labour Party perceived as increasingly incompetent, says poll – Independent
  • McDonnell leads call for UK to cancel Egyptian president’s visit – Guardian
  • Plans set out for Scottish Labour autonomy – Scotsman
  • Chuka Umunna announces his engagement – The Times (£)


Whitehall knew about diesel emissions scam six years ago

“The government was warned in 2009 that diesel cars were hugely exceeding harmful emissions targets but went on to give £1.7 billion in tax breaks to encourage consumers to buy millions of extra vehicles, an investigation by The Times can reveal. Research commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs six years ago revealed that diesel cars were producing significantly higher levels of pollution than was expected when driven on the road” – The Times (£)

  • Ministers accused of trying to sneak through new fracking rules – Guardian
  • Emergency staff call for end to 24-hour drinking – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Death toll from Afghan earthquake rises to 311 – Guardian
  • US Navy upholds freedom of navigation in South China Sea – Financial Times
  • Five British tourists die on whale-watching trip off Vancouver Island – Guardian
  • Bacon, burgers and sausages do cause cancer, WHO warns – Daily Mail
  • Boy aged 15 held over TalkTalk cyberattack – The Times (£)
  • Wolverhampton the least prosperous place in Britain – Independent