ISIS 1) Leaked document warns that police cuts could harm the UK’s ability to counter a terror attack

Police shield“Police cuts expected to be announced in next week’s Spending Review may ‘reduce very significantly’ the UK’s ability to respond to a Paris-style attack, Home Secretary Theresa May has been warned. … The advisory comes in a restricted document prepared for Mrs May by one of the UK’s most senior police officers. … It says the ability to mobilise large numbers of officers would ‘reduce very significantly across the country’. … The Home Office said it would not comment on a leaked document.” – Daily Mail

  • “Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has been caught out by The Sun telling a barefaced porkie about wanting to ‘disband MI5 and disarm the police’.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The number of stop and searches carried out by police has fallen by 40 per cent in a year, figures revealed yesterday. … A record low of 540,870 checks were made after Home Secretary Theresa May introduced reforms to reduce the ‘excessive and inappropriate’ use of the tactic.” – Daily Mail
  • “Scotland Yard have released horrifying footage of the moment Pc Yvonne Fletcher was shot outside the Libyan Embassy in London 31-years ago, after counter terrorism officers today arrested a man over her murder.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Under Theresa May, the policing grant has fallen 20 per cent – yet surveyed crime is down by 30 per cent. As it turns out, the size of the police budget does not dictate criminality levels.” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • “Shoot-to-kill is all fine and dandy in principle and makes the Prime Minister sound tough and resolute. … But it is utterly meaningless if officers who put their lives on the line still risk being hung out to dry for the sake of political expediency.” – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

ISIS 2) The nature of next week’s Defence Review

DEFENCE cuts“The Paris terrorist attacks last week have raised the stakes for the five-year strategic defence and security review, with Mr Cameron determined not to repeat some of the mistakes of the last exercise in 2010. … In this review, Russia’s revanchism, turmoil in the Middle East, the threat of Isis and growing cyber insecurity will dominate decision-making. … Mr Cameron will trumpet the 2015 defence review as evidence that his government can maintain national security while cutting the deficit.” – Financial Times

  • “Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq are using human shields to stop British RAF pilots killing them with drones operated from nearly 3,000 miles away, it can be revealed.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Britain’s declaration that it is developing cyber arms may be a small step — but it is a welcome one.” – Financial Times editorial

> Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column – A dispatch from the front lines in the struggle against ISIS

ISIS 3) France could suffer a chemical or biological attack, warns the country’s Prime Minister

French flag“France’s prime minister has warned his country to be prepared for chemical and biological attacks … Manuel Valls made the ominous prediction while calling on French MPs to extend the country’s state of emergency for another three months, amid fears another attack is imminent. … The warning comes as U.S. security officials report that they have found proof that ISIS is developing bio-weapons with the help of Syrian and Iraqi scientists in the Middle East.” – Daily Mail

  • “IS terror cell leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in a shootout with cops, the Paris prosecutor confirmed today.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The mastermind of the Paris attacks was able to slip into Europe among Syrian migrants, it emerged last night, as police on the continent admitted they are unable to monitor thousands of suspected jihadists.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “France is demanding that Brussels and the European Parliament ‘get a grip’ on the security threats facing the bloc by allowing tighter border checks and removing barriers to sharing airline passenger data.” – Financial Times
  • “France’s parliament has extended the country’s state of emergency for three months, allowing authorities to get access to huge powers that date back to 1955.” – The Independent
  • “Germany could deploy armed soldiers on its streets for the first time since the Second World War.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Europe needs to police its borders better if it is serious about fighting terrorism.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “France and Belgium are rushing to stiffen anti-terror laws. Their governments must be wary of eroding freedom.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Paris attacks must shake Europe’s complacency.” – Philip Stephens, Financial Times

ISIS 4) World powers poised to declare a common war against the terror group

United Nations“World powers are poised to forge a single resolution at the United Nations Security Council to declare a common war against Isis and ‘eradicate’ jihadists in Iraq and Syria, The Independent understands. … The attacks in Paris as well as the downing of the Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula have galvanised a hitherto divided Security Council. And a new reality exists: with its alleged execution this week of a Chinese national, Isis has now slaughtered citizens of all five permanent Security Council members.” – The Independent

ISIS 5) Corybn could still allow his MPs a free vote on Syria

“Jeremy Corbyn is poised to offer Labour MPs a free vote on Syria, after whips warned that dozens will rebel if he tries to order them to vote against air strikes. … The Labour leader angered MPs at the weekend by saying a free vote was not ‘on offer’. … But party sources say he is coming under intense pressure from the whips to back down. One source said up to 60 Labour MPs, including some frontbenchers, had indicated they could defy the party whip.” – Daily Mail

  • “Paris has exposed Corbyn for the fool he is.” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

ISIS 6) Khan: Most British Muslims have met an extremist

220px-Sadiq_Khan“As he criticised the left’s espousal of multiculturalism, Sadiq Khan said the political elite has been guilty of ‘burying their heads in the sand’ over radicalisation. … the London Mayoral candidate said successive governments have ‘tolerated segregation in British society’ – a failing which has ‘allowed the conditions that permit extremism to continue unchecked’. … ‘Extremism isn’t a theoretical risk. Most British Muslims have come across someone with extremist views at some point – and so have I.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Terror attacks have everything to do with Islam.” – Melanie Phillips, The Times (£)
  • “Islam is still rooted in the values of the dark ages – and until we accept that, we will never get rid of radicalism.” – Julia Hartley-Brewer, Daily Telegraph

Junior doctors vote to strike

On strike“Patients are facing three weeks of disruption after junior doctors voted overwhelmingly to go on strike during the run-up to Christmas. … A total of 28,316 junior doctors took part in the ballot, of whom 99 per cent voted in favour of staging industrial action and 98 per cent for an all-out strike in protest over new contracts being imposed by Jeremy Hunt. He said today the result was ‘very, very disappointing news’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Jeremy Hunt has come under growing pressure to let independent arbitrators try to settle the junior doctors dispute before their series of strikes starts next month.” – The Guardian
  • “Retired consultants will be drafted in to provide unpaid cover as hospitals scramble to deal with the first all-out doctors’ strike in NHS history.” – The Times (£)
  • “A powerful new body, Research UK, should take charge of government science spending, an independent review by Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, says.” – Financial Times
  • “The BBC has been left red-faced after a rude banner appeared behind presenter Andrew Neil during a discussion of the upcoming strike by junior doctors.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “If junior doctors wanted to find the fastest way to destroy the high regard in which their profession is held, they could hardly have done better than for 98 per cent to vote for a strike.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Medical professionals don’t vote lightly to strike. There is a real crisis here and it needs sorting out by the experts – Acas.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Patients will suffer in doctors’ strike.” – Sarah Wollaston, The Times (£)
  • “Cut doctors’ pay and the health service will bleed.” – Daniel Westacott, Financial Times

> Yesterday:

Is the NHS facing a financial crisis?

“NHS trusts in England are expected to declare the worst financial performance in the history of the health service, with fears some hospitals will run out of cash to pay staff. … New figures from NHS regulators, due to be published on Friday, are set to reveal a deficit of £1.5bn, with projections the figure will reach £2bn by the end of the financial year. … Experts told the Telegraph that the situation is now so bleak that there are fears that over the next year, some hospitals will be unable to pay their staff.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “The NHS is heading for meltdown. Here’s how George Osborne can save it.” – Alan Milburn, Daily Telegraph

Fresh allegations against Mark Clarke

mark clarke“The Tory party was last night engulfed by extraordinary allegations of sex, drugs and the blackmail of MPs. … A whistleblower has claimed a senior election aide compiled dossiers on four Tory MPs after encouraging young activists to sleep with them. … The aide – disgraced ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke – had been determined to secure a top political position by keeping ‘dirt’ on everybody to use as leverage in the future, the party campaigner alleged.” – Daily Mail

  • “Lord Feldman, the Conservative party chairman, has denied that he knew until recently about allegations of what he described as ‘abhorrent’ bullying and sexual harassment by a party campaigner.” – Financial Times
  • “A young Conservative activist complained online in the month before his suicide that he had been ‘pinned’ in a seat and ‘bullied and interrogated’, The Independent has learnt.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “Imagine the sort of people who would take one look at a backstabbing, bullying world of battling for control over others and walk away. And now imagine the sort for whom it would be love at first sight; the sort who will rise like poisoned cream to the top, and curdle there.” – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian
  • “A young man is dead. There are allegations of blackmail and sexual procurement. Lord Feldman and the Tory Party must get a grip and start providing some answers before this turns into a full-blown scandal.” – Daily Mail editorial

> Today:

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The Legard inquiry into the Mark Clarke allegations must publish findings

MPs to criticise the Met for its Lord Brittan investigation

“In a damning report, the Commons home affairs committee will say the Tory peer’s widow went through unnecessary anguish because of the way police handled the case. … Its report criticises Scotland Yard over suggestions it pressed the Crown Prosecution Service to review the Brittan allegations because a decision to take no further action would have resulted in ‘media criticism and public cynicism’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Tom Watson has said he will write to the widow of Leon Brittan to apologise directly after he was criticised by MPs for repeating a claim that he was ‘as close to evil as any human could get’ in connection with sex abuse allegations against the Tory peer.” – The Guardian

The trouble with HBOS: Osborne responds to new report

George Osborne“More than seven years after the failure of Halifax Bank of Scotland, regulators published the results of a £7million inquiry into what went wrong and who was to blame. … Chancellor George Osborne claimed the failings highlighted in the reports demonstrated that ‘the system of regulation created by the last Labour government failed’. … He added: ‘In the end, this led to a £20 billion bailout of Lloyds Banking Group, funded by the taxpayer.'” – Daily Mail

  • “More money was lent in mortgages last month than at any point since before the recession as borrowers rushed to take advantage of cheap deals.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “There needs to be not only a proper criminal investigation but also a full scale public inquiry.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “HBOS report is better late then never.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “It’s far too late for an HBOS witch-hunt.” – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

The Chancellor’s tax credit cuts could encourage people back into work, claim the IFS

“The Chancellor’s tax credit reforms could encourage almost two million more people to work, a report claims. … In couples where only one partner worked, the move would on average ‘strengthen incentives’ for the other to find a job too, said the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies. … The findings come despite campaigners warning that George Osborne’s reforms could plunge working families into poverty.” – Daily Mail

  • “A feared hike in diesel duty would cost drivers £8billion and stall the economic recovery, experts forecast last night.” – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday:

Clark urges councils to stop sitting on cash

CLARK Greg Krieg“Councils have been accused of sitting on cash that could be used to help them cope with budget cuts, after official figures showed their reserves grew in the past year. … Communities secretary Greg Clark said he recognised councils’ need to save for the future but they should also use their resources to meet local needs. … Councils are ‘well placed’ to ‘play their part in dealing with the deficit’, Mr Clark said.” – Financial Times

> Today: Cllr David Hodge on Local Government – For councils the well of efficiencies is drying up while the pressures on us continue to rise

Hammond on the possibility of Cyprus reunifying: “The stars are beginning to align.”

“Cyprus has reached a ‘critical point’ in its search for an end to four decades of partition, Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, said yesterday as he urged Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to move towards an historic compromise over the island’s future. … ‘The stars are beginning to align,’ Mr Hammond said on a visit taking in both sides of the divided island, amid talks hailed as the best chance in a decade for ending one of the world’s oldest frozen conflicts.” – The Times (£)

  • “Cyprus has warned it will refuse to take around one in three of the migrants who have claimed asylum after landing on a British military base because of security concerns.” – Daily Mail

Letwin says he doesn’t regret giving cash to Kids Company

“Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin has said he does not regret giving £3m to the charity Kids Company just days before it collapsed, despite subsequent allegations of financial mismanagement. … The charity, run by Camila Batmanghelidjh, would have been able to improve its management and governance if it had not gone bust first, Mr Letwin told a committee of MPs.” – Financial Times

Cruddas donates £1 million to the Leave campaign

EU Exit“Former Tory party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas is to donate £1m to the Vote Leave campaign in the EU referendum – the highest donation yet to the Out cause. … In the last European referendum in 1975, the In campaign spent 11 times as much as its opponents – but this time around, the Out campaign is convinced it will have far greater financial clout.” – Daily Mail

  • “The campaign to keep Britain in Europe is poised to hire Jim Messina, the US digital guru who helped to mastermind the Conservative party’s election success.” – The Times (£)

> Today: Isabel Oakeshott on Comment – Brexit campaigners don’t know friend from enemy

The collapse in UKIP’s funding

“The UK Independence Party has suffered a devastating collapse in funding since its failure to secure an election breakthrough. … In the last three months Nigel Farage’s party received less than £50,000, dramatically down on the £2million donated in the run up to the election and half of the amount given in the period last year.” – Daily Mail

Damian McBride: “Corbyn is securing his revolution from within.”

MCBRIDE Damian looking right“To understand Jeremy Corbyn and his cohorts, you have to appreciate their obsession with the history of Marxist revolutions. They take their cues not from dead presidents, but Ho Chi Minh, Samora Machel and Fidel Castro. … it explains why – for all the indifference that Corbyn and co appear to be showing to the need to persuade the public to vote for them in five years’ time – they are operating with relentless and at times brutal efficiency in their efforts to seize control of the Labour party’s internal machinery.” – Damian McBride, The Guardian

  • “Voters are happier with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than they are with David Cameron’s recent record, the latest polling evidence reveals.” – The Independent
  • “Left Unity, the far-left party set up with the help of film director Ken Loach, is to discuss whether to dissolve and join Labour, or seek to affiliate to Jeremy Corbyn’s party.” – The Guardian
  • “The head of Labour’s 2015 election campaign has called on Jeremy Corbyn to publish an internal inquiry into its election defeat, warning that his leadership has taken the party even further from possible victory in the next election.” – The Guardian

McDonnell unveils “socialism with an iPad”

“John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will promise ‘socialism with an iPad’ as he promises Labour will make the UK one of the world’s great technology centres but also provide security for the army of new workers, many self-employed, who have been casualised by the internet. … He will also set an objective that 3.5% of UK gross domestic product is spent on infrastructure, part of a move to what he describes a new strategic state.” – The Guardian

  • “How Labour will secure the high-wage, hi-tech economy of the future.” – John McDonnell, The Guardian

Labour to establish its own review of the Freedom of Information Act

Tom Watson“Labour is to set up its own review of the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to head off a controversial move by the Government to water down the public’s right to know. … Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, is to invite Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs to join a cross-party commission that will take evidence on the working of the 2000 Act passed by the Blair Government. It is likely to propose that the legislation be strengthened amid fears that Conservative ministers will use their review as cover to dilute the Act.” – The Independent

  • “A truly liberal culture of transparency would automatically place all information in the public arena.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Peers call for less rush over devolution

“Peers have called for a halt to what they called the ‘rushed through’ devolution of powers to Scotland after expressing fears the plans could put the Union at risk. … A House of Lords committee has called for a halt to the Scotland Bill until key issues are addressed, including details of the funding package which will accompany it. … The Economic Affairs Committee has set out its concerns in a report on the legislation which hands a raft of new powers to Holyrood.” – Daily Mail

  • “The risk of a terrorist attack taking place in Scotland would ‘greatly increase’ if the country became independent due to the inevitable reduction in the strength of its intelligence services and military, the Scotland Secretary has said.” – The Independent
  • “Millions of pounds could be wasted on new electric trains because they may not have suitable tracks to run on, MPs warned last night.” – Daily Mail

Northern Ireland’s First Minister stands down

Peter Robinson“Peter Robinson is to step down as Northern Ireland’s First Minister and leader of his Democratic Unionist Party. … The 66-year-old, who made the announcement ahead of the DUP conference, said he will not contest May’s Assembly election and is likely to leave office in the coming weeks. … Mr Robinson suffered a heart attack this year but insists he had made his mind up to leave before the health scare.” – Daily Mail

  • “Whoever follows Peter Robinson will need to be a strong leader.” – Peter Hain, The Guardian

News in brief

  • Young “digital natives” are naive about internet advertising, according to new report – Financial Times
  • Transgender woman found dead in all-male prison – The Guardian
  • New Zealand flag referendum gets under way – The Guardian
  • Court allows woman with signs of consciousness to die – Daily Telegraph
  • Snow storm set to strike the UK – Daily Telegraph
  • Eddie Jones is appointed as England Rugby’s new head coach – The Times (£)