Cameron goes to Iceland to warn against Brexit

EU Exit‘The Prime Minister will for the first time directly address the alternative options to Britain remaining in the EU during a trip to Iceland. Mr Cameron is expected to address suggestions from Eurosceptics that Britain would be better off following the example of Scandanavian countries such as Iceland and Norway – nations which are not members of the EU, but still trade freely the rest of Europe…A senior Downing Street source said the Prime Minister will warn that people advocating a Norway-style option have overlooked the reality of that country’s relationship with the EU. “It is not necessarily a land of milk and honey”, the Downing Street source said.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Britons are the least European-feeling nation in Europe – Daily Mail
  • Brussels bans mobile roaming charges – The Times (£)
  • The EU decides internet filters are illegal – Daily Mail
  • The tide turns in Warsaw – The Times Leader (£)
  • What is the ‘Norwegian model’? – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Remain or Leave – how do you expect to vote in the EU referendum?

Tax Credits 1) Downing Street launches review of Lords’ powers

‘David Cameron acted swiftly to curb the powers of the House of Lords yesterday after Monday’s defeat on the plan to cut £4.4 billion from tax credits. The prime minister revealed that he had appointed Lord Strathclyde, a former cabinet minister, to find ways of ensuring that MPs have the “decisive role” in determining financial plans .’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: The Government’s real problem is not the Lords, but the Commons

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What the Chancellor’s promise to ‘deal with’ the Lords could mean in practice

Tax Credits 2) Hague: Lib Dem peers have abandoned their principles

HAGUE William looking right‘On Monday night, when they joined in defeating George Osborne’s tax credit plans and even voted for a “fatal motion” to stop them altogether, these ghosts forgot a key principle of the liberal civilisation they once led. My old Liberal friends in the last Cabinet were fond of the word “principle” and never happier than when they could attach it to the word “constitutional”. And the idea that matters of taxation are solely for the elected house of our Parliament to decide is a constitutional principle of the United Kingdom if ever there was one.’ – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

Tax Credits 3) Policy race to untangle the Gordonian Knot

‘Having promised to lessen the pain of cuts in tax credits for poorer claimants, George Osborne now has to untie what some commentators are calling the “Gordonian Knot” — the complex array of welfare payments introduced by a Treasury predecessor, Gordon Brown. Two free market think-tanks, the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs, argue that the entire tax credit system should be dismantled and replaced with a simple “negative income tax” — a minimum guaranteed income that tapers away as earnings rise.’ – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Government is defeated in the Lords on tax credits. What next for Osborne, welfare reform and the constitution?

Britain overtakes the US as the better place to do business

GROWTH Krieg‘Britain is now a better place to do business than the United States, according to a major study published last night. In a boost for George Osborne, the World Bank said the United Kingdom is ranked above America for only the second time since its ‘Doing Business’ report was first published more than a decade ago. The news was welcomed by ministers who have slashed business taxes and attempted to reduce red tape in a bid to make Britain more enterprise friendly.’ – Daily Mail

Soubry: We will act to help the steel industry

‘Anna Soubry, the small business, industry and enterprise minister, said she would act on five demands from the industry to stave off further job losses in a sector that has seen thousands of redundancies since September. “The industry is not asking the government for any money. All they want from us is to give them the chance to compete on a level playing field,” she told a committee of MPs.’ – The Guardian

Spooks launch charm offensive before return of snooping proposals

Spying‘Britain’s most secretive organisation, the eavesdropping headquarters of GCHQ, has given unprecedented access to The Times as parliament prepares to debate groundbreaking legislation to set out the future of spying in the digital age…In a three-day series before the expected publication next week of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, The Times will detail the work of GCHQ from interviews with all its section heads and visits over several days to its high-security facilities.’ – The Times (£)

  • They must be given new powers – The Times Leader (£)
  • Hundreds of terror suspects disappear after Snowden leaks – Daily Mail
  • Attacks on free speech risk a bland society, warns Cable – Daily Telegraph

Leadsom’s two questions: ‘Is climate change real?’ and ‘Is fracking safe?’

‘Andrea Leadsom, the energy and climate change minister, has admitted asking whether climate change was real after she was appointed to the job. Mrs Leadsom said she was now “completely persuaded” on the issue, according to comments reported by fracking news site Drill Or Drop. The minister told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Gas and Oil: “When I first came to this job one of my two questions was: ‘Is climate change real?’ and the other was ‘Is hydraulic fracturing safe?’ And on both of those questions I now am completely persuaded.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

Turn the migrant boats around, says Abbott

ABBOTT Tony purple tie‘Europe must turn immigrant boats around, ex-Aussie PM Tony Abbott said last night. And he said force had to be used to stop mass migration. He claimed during the annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London that Europe was making a “catastrophic error”. He said it “will gnaw at our consciences” but Europe must use “force” against the “tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever”.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Slovenia considers calling for military aid – FT
  • Immigration clampdown will harm tech startups, business warns – Daily Telegraph
  • Heart doctor failed three English tests – Daily Telegraph
  • 10,000 cancers spotted late every year – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Ranj Alaaldin on Comment: Does the EU really want Erdogan as an ally?

Stop behaving like a newspaper, Whittingdale tells the BBC

‘The BBC should stop behaving like a newspaper, and get rid of written content from its website, the Culture Secretary has warned. John Whittingdale told Radio 4’s The Media Show that newspapers have ‘legitimate concerns’ about the broadcaster trampling on their turf, by publishing so much ‘long-form journalism’. ‘The fact that you can access content which looks like long-form journalism on the BBC website is clearly something [newspapers] are unhappy about, and raises this question as to whether or not the BBC should be essentially entering the printed news market.’ – Daily Mail

Defence 1) British troops to stay in Afghanistan

Army‘Hundreds of British troops will remain in Afghanistan alongside their US counterparts as security deteriorates and the Taliban regains ground, The Times understands. Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said yesterday that a detachment of about 450 troops tasked with training and advising the Afghan security forces in Kabul would extend its mission until the end of next year.’ – The Times (£)

Defence 2) Soldiers rally in support of Marine A

‘Serving troops are expected to defy a ban from their commanders and attend a rally in support of Sgt Alexander Blackman, who was convicted of murdering a wounded Taliban fighter. Several Royal Marines and others are expected to risk disciplinary punishment by attending what the Ministry of Defence says is a political demonstration.’ – Daily Telegraph

Don’t rubbish the Northern Powerhouse, Jarvis warns Labour

JARVIS Dan‘A fresh conflict has erupted in the Labour party as the leadership was told to “stop rubbishing” the UK government’s plans for a Northern Powerhouse. Dan Jarvis, the Barnsley Central MP who was tipped for a leadership challenge, said it was “easy politics” to dismiss the Conservative party’s effort to revive the north’s economy.’ – FT

>Today: From Reggie to Dessie: “Corbyn emerged like a badly-dressed Christmas tree, and was smoothed down by a Palace Footman.”

Freedom of Information inquiry under fire for keeping contributors secret

‘The government review of Freedom of Information (FoI) has been accused of making an “extraordinarily inappropriate” decision to keep contributions to its transparency report anonymous. The commission — which triggered concerns that ministers were plotting a curb on FoI laws when it was set up in July — is expected to publish its findings next month.’ – The Times (£)

SNP defends free tuition for the rich, as they cut support for the poor

Scottish flag‘The SNP’s Education Minister has insisted that university degrees must remain “free” for wealthy Scots after it emerged that youngsters from poor backgrounds are receiving fewer grants and bursaries to fund their studies. Angela Constance said there was a “principle that education has to be free” despite official figures showing children from the poorest families are becoming increasingly reliant on loans rather than non-repayable grants and bursaries.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Crabb attacks ‘messed up’ Welsh politics

>Yesterday: Ruth Davidson MSP’s column: While Labour struggle for relevance, we Conservatives offer a bulwark against the SNP

News in Brief