Security 1) Downing Street stops flights in and out of Sharm el-Sheikh, amid terrorism fears

downingst‘Thousands of Britons were stranded in Egypt last night after No 10 declared that a bomb was the likely cause of a Russian aircraft having exploded minutes after leaving the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The biggest British airlines grounded all flights in and out of the resort after the warning, which was believed to have come when information was received from foreign intelligence agencies, including the US. As many as 20,000 British tourists are understood to be in the area. Downing Street’s declaration that an explosive device “may well” have brought down the aircraft caused a diplomatic row on the eve of a visit to Britain by President Sisi of Egypt.’ – The Times (£)

Security 2) MI5 secretly gathered your bulk phone and email data for a decade

‘Security officials have been secretly harvesting and storing the phone and email records of millions of UK citizens for the past 14 years, it emerged last night. Theresa May revealed that the bulk collection of communications data had been authorised by every Home Secretary since 2001 and had helped MI5 to foil a string of terrorist plots. Her admission came in a statement to MPs during the unveiling of the controversial new Investigatory Powers Bill, which will grant the police and security services extensive surveillance powers.’ – Daily Mail



Osborne slips in ConHome readers’ future leader survey

OSBORNE Mansion House‘Support for George Osborne to become the next Tory leader has plummeted after bitter clashes over his tax credit reforms. Mr Osborne had been well ahead of his rivals in monthly ConservativeHome polls. But November’s survey saw his support drop by nine points to 23 per cent…Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome, said: “Boris has barged his way to the top of the queue of Conservative MPs questioning the tax credits plan – his party conference speech took a swipe at them – and it is hard to believe that this has nothing to do with the big jump of seven points in his rating. With the likelihood of a referendum next autumn apparently receding, the leadership election timetable is being pushed back.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • Boris: take back our borders – The Sun (£)
  • Thank goodness Cameron opted out of Juncker’s migrant plan – The Sun Says (£)


The BMA throws Hunt’s offer in his face and begins strike ballot

‘Hospitals face a mass winter walkout after junior doctors threw Jeremy Hunt’s last-minute pay offer back in his face. Tens of thousands of medical staff will today begin voting on whether to strike during one of the NHS’s busiest times of the year. They are said to be overwhelmingly in favour of action. It would be only the second time doctors have walked out in 40 years.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Jeremy Hunt MP on Comment: Protected pay. Reduced maximum hours. It’s time to put the record straight on our offer to junior doctors

Energy crisis: Factories are paid not to work to avoid a blackout

Nuclear power towers‘National Grid was yesterday forced to use new ‘last resort’ measures to keep the lights on in homes across the country. Major industries were for the first time asked to down their tools to protect energy supplies. The problem was blamed on a combination of unexpectedly high demand, power plant breakdowns and very low wind power output…Under the emergency measure, announced by National Grid last year, businesses are paid to cut their power usage between 4pm and 8pm. A secondary measure – firing up mothballed power plants – was not required. National Grid said last month that both schemes would be used only ‘as a last resort’ where demand outstripped supply.’ – Daily Mail

Gove’s prisoner rehabilitation drive

‘Wearing body cameras would make prison officers more likely to “behave appropriately”, the Justice Secretary has said. Speaking at the Howard League for Penal Reform’s conference, Michael Gove said the cameras, which are currently being trialled, would make assaults less likely. Mr Gove also said he believed sentencing should be reviewed and that he wanted the prison population to “fall over time”, with an emphasis on rehabilitation.’ – Daily Telegraph

Bedfordshire PCC threatens to ‘max out’ speed cameras for more cash

Police shield‘Olly Martins, PCC for Bedfordshire, said he could raise up to £1 million if he permanently switched on speed cameras that are usually only active when temporary speed restrictions are in place. Mr Martins said: “I’m running out of levers to pull. Strict enforcement of the speed limit could raise £1 million, and to me that’s better than losing 25 more police officers.”’ – The Times (£)

Cameron confirms the Government is considering selling Channel 4

‘David Cameron has claimed to be a “huge fan of Channel 4” – which once dramatized his Bullingdon Club adventures with Boris Johnson – but is still considering privatisation of the broadcaster. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons on 4 November that he intended to “look at all the options” after being asked by the SNP about the channel’s future.’ – The Independent


MPs criticise bank review

money‘MPs have accused the Competition and Markets Authority of laziness after widespread criticism that its proposals to boost choice in the banking market did not go far enough. In a bruising session with the Treasury select committee yesterday, the regulator was challenged over why it did not recommend forcing banks to scrap Britain’s unusual model of offering supposedly free current accounts to those in credit.’ – The Times (£)

Violence breaks out at student protest addressed by McDonnell

‘Protesters became embroiled in violent clashes with police…as a demonstration backing free education descended into chaos after a rabble-rousing speech by Labour’s John McDonnell. The shadow chancellor had addressed thousands of students in central London who were calling for an end to tuition fees, the return of maintenance grants and an end to student debt as they marched through Westminster, cheering and waving flags. He told them the government had ‘betrayed’ their generation – and later…dozens of officers from the Territorial Support Group moved in and penned in the demonstrators, many of whom were clad all in black, with scarves over their faces, and letting off flares.’ – Daily Mail

SNP pledges to make up tax credit shortfalls

snplogo‘The Scottish National party has committed to trying to make up losses that would be suffered by low-income people under tax credit cuts planned by the UK Conservative government. The SNP had come under increasing pressure to explain how it would act on tax credits after the Scottish Labour party promised at the weekend to use new powers coming to Scotland to reverse the Conservative cuts.’ – FT

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Grayling and Duncan Smith exchange fire with SNP

Montgomerie: Can America get back on track?

‘America may be a part of the future but it’s no longer seen as key to the future in many nations’ eyes. It needs new leadership. A new president who can make it worthy of emulation again. Who can persuade the two-thirds of Americans who think that their country is on the wrong track that it can be turned around. Over the next year, with presidential elections in sight, I’ll be reporting from America for The Times. Looking for that transformational leader.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Platell: What Thatcher taught women about power-dressing

THATCHER black and white‘Even now, I can remember with perfect clarity the outfit she was wearing: a navy single-breasted suit, string of pearls, black court shoes, magnificently coiffured hair and the omnipresent navy handbag. Back then, I was William Hague’s Press Secretary and, after giving me some salutary campaigning advice, she took me to one side for a bit of woman-to-woman counsel. Looking at my trouser suit, she said: ‘Never trousers, my dear. They rob a woman of her authority.” – Daily Mail

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