The Autumn Statement: has Osborne abandoned austerity?

OSBORNE penknife“George Osborne brought an early end to austerity yesterday – using a surprise £27billion windfall to go on a spending spree. Despite weeks of warnings of savage cuts, the Chancellor ditched plans to slash the £30billion tax credits bill. He will now even breach his self-imposed cap on welfare payments.” – Daily Mail

Who’s paying for it?

Tax Credits:


  • Student loans change ‘betrays a generation’ – The Guardian
  • Government faces legal threat over loan increases – The Independent
  • Fury as Chancellor scraps student grants for nurses – Daily Mail


  • Osborne warns Scottish ministers they face hard choices – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon faces five per cent budget cut over five years – The Guardian
  • Devolution will distance Westminster from austerity – Financial Times
  • Chancellor claims independent Scotland would face ‘catastrophic’ cuts – Daily Mail



  • OAPs rake in biggest pension rise in 15 years – Daily Mail

Allister Heath: The Tories were elected to be radical, but have lost their nerve

“As we were reminded time and again, he is happy to tell people and companies what to do and has a penchant for grands projets and an activist industrial policy, with subsidies directed to parts of the economy that he wants to develop… In a remarkable sign of the times, the Institute for Public Policy Research, one of the think tanks that helped invent New Labour in the Nineties, welcomed Mr Osborne’s announcements, judging them to be broadly compatible with social-democratic thinking.” – Daily Telegraph


  • The Autumn Statement was very clever, but does Osborne actually believe in anything? – Janet Daley, Daily Telegraph
  • This was the Chancellor’s one chance to make the hard choice, and he fluffed it – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • Businesses pay the price for loyalty to the Tories – Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times
  • A lucky Chancellor with a less fortunate Opposition – Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
  • Osborne will rue the day he failed to cut the police – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph
  • Is Osborne morphing into Gordon Brown? – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • This Chancellor is for turning, thank goodness – Ian Birrell, Daily Telegraph




McDonnell quotes Communist mass-murderer in backfired stunt

LABOUR dead rose“John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, plunged senior Labour figures into despair yesterday by quoting from the Little Red Book of the former Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao in his response to George Osborne’s spending review. In a move condemned by Chris Leslie, his predecessor, as a “misjudged stunt”, Mr McDonnell produced a copy of the book and attempted to embarrass Mr Osborne over his attempts to woo the Chinese.” – The Times (£)


  • Red alert! Communist stunt burns McDonnell – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Waving the Little Red Book in the Commons… what could go wrong? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Chairman McDonnell throws a spanner in the works – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)


  • The Shadow Chancellor is cosying up to Trots who hate Labour – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


Leaked email suggests CCHQ knew about Clarke bullying for a year before expelling him

“The Conservative party ignored a written allegation of bullying and intimidation against a senior Tory activist more than a year before he was expelled from the party, leaked emails have revealed. Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) was sent a detailed complaint about Mark Clarke in July last year by a student activist. Despite an official promising to act on the matter, the student heard nothing more and no action was taken against Mr Clarke.” – The Times (£)

  • Secret emails exchanged by scandal-struck activists exposed – The Sun (£)
  • Disgraced aide closer to Shapps than previously claimed – The Times (£)

Cameron claims strategic air strikes don’t risk civilian casualties…

Cameron1“David Cameron will reassure the Commons that British air strikes in Syria are unlikely to lead to civilian casualties as he makes the case for military intervention. The Prime Minister will set out his seven point response to concerns raised by the Foreign Affairs select committee as he seeks to allay concerns over Syria.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister suggests Marine A’s conviction should be reviewed – Daily Mail
  • Cameron pays tribute to loyal PPS – The Times (£)

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP in Comment: Why we must back Turkey against Putin

…as he retreats from EU migrant welfare control bid

“David Cameron is set to ditch his controversial demand to make EU migrants wait four years before they can claim in-work benefits, officials in Brussels have said. The move would cause uproar with some of his backbench MPs, who had already poured scorn on the proposals and eurosceptics will seize on the reports as further proof that Britain should quit the EU to take back control of immigration.” – The Guardian

Ministers 1) Hammond warns EU over migrant cash

EU FLag“Philip Hammond has warned Europe that British voters will force the UK out of the European Union in the forthcoming referendum unless there is a clampdown on benefits to EU migrants in Britain. In a speech in Rome, the foreign secretary also said that a majority of British voters now favoured leaving the EU amid fears that Europe is being engulfed by “what appears to many people to be an uncontrollable wave of migration”.” – The Times (£)

>Today: Profiles: France – and its future relationship with the EU

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The main obstacle to a deal between the rival Leave campaigns is Arron Banks himself

Ministers 2) Hunt agrees to mediation with junior doctors

“Officials are to sit down for talks with doctors’ leaders in a last-ditch bid to avert strike action, the Health Secretary has announced. In a significant climbdown, Jeremy Hunt agreed to start conciliatory talks with arbitration service Acas, just days before 37,000 junior doctors take action next Tuesday.” – Daily Mail

  • Experts warn strike will harm patients – Daily Mail

Ministers 3) Morgan forced by judge to include atheism in RE lessons

School“Atheism will go on the school syllabus for RE lessons after the High Court ruled Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s move to omit non-religious views from lessons was unlawful. The ruling in London was a victory for three families, supported by the British Humanist Association, who claimed Nicky Morgan had taken a ‘skewed’ approach and was failing to reflect the diverse nature of the UK in schools.” – Daily Mail

  • Education Secretary made ‘error of law’ on new GCSE – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Poland’s new Prime Minister rejects EU refugee quota – Daily Mail
  • Queen attends what may be her last Commonwealth summit – Daily Telegraph
  • Blood therapy heralds end of insulin jabs for type-1 diabetes – The Times (£)
  • US accuses Syria of buying oil from ISIS – Financial Times
  • Two thirds of New Zealanders want to keep current flag – Daily Mail
  • Ex-MP Yeo could face police inquiry over ‘dishonest’ High Court evidence – Daily Telegraph