Cameron convenes COBRA as floods strike the North West

Flood‘Announcing the emergency meeting, Mr Cameron said: ‘The thoughts of the whole country will be with the people in Cumbria and the North West who have suffered so terribly from the devastating storms this weekend. The Government is doing everything it can to help those who have seen their homes flooded – and to try and prevent further damage. I would like to pay a huge tribute to all those emergency workers and troops who have worked tirelessly to respond to this weekend’s events…’ After £48million of anti-flood investment in the region in recent years, residents were reassured the deluges that devastated Carlisle in 2005 and Cockermouth in 2009 would not happen again in their lifetime. But floods minister and Penrith MP Rory Stewart said: ‘We have not seen weather like this…This is not just beyond living memory.’ – Daily Mail

Tory MPs urge the Government to get on with Heathrow expansion

’30 Conservative MPs have written to Mr Cameron – in a letter seen exclusively by the Telegraph – urging him to “press ahead” now with a third runway at Heathrow. The Prime Minister has promised to make an announcement on whether to accept independent recommendations for expanding airport capacity in the South East within days. But the new row could force Mr Cameron to delay a decision for months or even years…A letter coordinated by Liam Fox, the former defence secretary and MP for North Somerset, Tories from constituencies in the south-west said connections to the capital’s major airport were “vital to our country’s economic growth and prosperity”.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Air quality concerns used to delay the decision – The Times (£)
  • Business groups voice frustration at further setbacks – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Heathrow: to expand or not to expand?

IDS: We have allies on limiting EU welfare tourism

IDS headshot‘Almost all European leaders privately back Britain’s push to end migrants ‘popping’ between countries in search of higher benefits, Iain Duncan Smith has claimed. The Work and Pensions Secretary said developed countries in the European Union, including Germany, wanted to see an end to the welfare free-for-all. He insisted David Cameron’s demand for a ban on claiming in-work benefits for four years was still winnable, despite Downing Street admitting a deal will not be agreed this month.’ – Daily Mail

  • The Government will rely on Labour votes to force through EU police plan – The Times (£)
  • Pro-Brussels campaigners warn of Brexit impact on Northern Ireland – The Guardian
  • Tusk set to respond to Britain’s demands – Daily Telegraph
  • Speedboats secretly ferry middle class migrants into the UK – Daily Telegraph
  • Front National surges in French elections – Daily Mail



The Government plans to bypass the House of Lords

‘David Cameron has been secretly drawing up a plan to bypass an increasingly hostile anti-Tory majority in the House of Lords, which is threatening to wreak havoc with his legislative plans…Lord Strathclyde, the Tory grandee charged by Mr Cameron with reviewing the role of peers, is set to propose this month that the Lords should lose its veto over delegated or “secondary” legislation, such as the measure implementing tax-credit cuts. Once that veto is removed, Mr Cameron is expected to step up his government’s increasing use of delegated legislation — also known as statutory instruments — to ram contentious measures through the upper house.’ – FT

Extra police patrols for the London Underground

Police shield‘Armed patrols will be increased on the transport network after a suspected Islamist fanatic went on the rampage in a London Underground station. The extra security was announced last night after a man allegedly shouted “This is for Syria” as he attacked two men with a knife and terrorised ­passengers including children. Police said that they were treating the attack, at Leytonstone Tube station in east London on Saturday night, as a terrorist incident.’ – The Times (£)

  • Concerns over ‘lone actor’ terror attacks – FT
  • Was the police response sufficiently swing and strong? – The Independent
  • Obama warns of ‘new phase’ of terrorism – FT
  • Man charged with sending malicious messages to an MP – Daily Mail



>Today: Alison Hernandez on Local Government: No cuts – but no complacency in creating a modern police service

>Yesterday: Sean O’Callaghan on Comment: A fanatic’s heart. What we can learn from James Connolly about Islamist zealots

Boris: Let’s do a deal with Putin

‘I was in Paris at the end of last week, and the Russian leader’s face glowered sulkily from every billboard. “Poutin”, said the headline, “Notre nouvel ami”. Many French people think the time has come to do a deal with their new friends the Russians – and I think that they are broadly right. Look, I am no particular fan of Vlad. Quite the opposite…This is the time to set aside our Cold War mindset. It is just not true that whatever is good for Putin must automatically be bad for the West. We both have a clear and concrete objective – to remove the threat from Isil.’ – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

  • RAF jets grounded for maintenance – The Sun (£)

Scottish Conservatives bring new blood into their candidates’ list

DAVIDSON Ruth new‘The Scottish Conservative party has ditched half its election candidates in an attempt to make itself Scotland’s second-biggest party in parliamentary elections in May. The makeover sees a new breed of younger, moderate Tories replace many of the party’s longstanding candidates, as it seeks to appeal to voters from the centre ground. According to allies, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish conservatives, believes her party can capitalise on Labour’s leftward shift by positioning itself to appeal to the country’s 2m unionist voters, who opposed independence in the referendum last year.’ – FT

Montgomerie: Free trade would help the world’s poor far more than climate change reparations

‘We need an agenda to make the world rich because a rich world is more educated, inventive and green. The wrong summit is happening in Paris. If world leaders devoted their time to slashing agriculture subsidies and the protectionism that suffocates trade across Africa and Latin America the benefits to poor nations would be many times bigger than reparations.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

New drive to promote home ownership

Homes For All Big‘Aspiring homeowners will be able to climb onto the property ladder with as little as a £1,400 deposit under government reforms that aim to promote home ownership. The rules on shared ownership properties — homes that people can part-buy and part-rent — will be loosened to open the scheme to 175,000 more households, David Cameron will say on Monday. The move will contribute to the government’s promise to “build a nation of homeowners”, Mr Cameron will say, seeking to set out his party’s election manifesto achievements so far.’ – FT

  • What about supply? – FT Leader
  • Trucking apprenticeship push – The Sun (£)
  • Experts mark Cameron’s score card after a decade as Tory leader – The Sun (£)

Battle to defend Freedom of Information

‘Ministers want to water down the Freedom of Information Act, saying curbs are needed because it is too expensive to deal with requests. But Tom Felle, from City University London, will warn that this could damage democracy and weaken the ability of the media to hold the powerful to account. He will appear before a cross-party review on the future of the FOI Act. The review has been established by Labour to put pressure on the Government not to dilute the legislation. Mr Felle will be joined by the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, who is expected to criticise ministers’ ‘routine fear’ at disclosing information, and say the right to know is part of democracy.’ – Daily Mail

Hardman: Labour won Oldham because they understood Englishness

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo‘The party won because its very impressive local candidate Jim McMahon had worked out how to address the problems facing Labour even in safe seats. Chief among those problems is an increasing disconnect between patriotic English voters and the party they traditionally supported…his group has also been proved right by McMahon’s victory over Ukip in Oldham. His campaign manager Andrew Gwynne says the party “embraced identity because it is a great thing in a community like Oldham West and Royton”, from holding Lancashire days to running projects about Remembrance Sunday.’ – Isabel Hardman, The Times (£)

Corbyn accused of planning ‘sexist purge’

‘Jeremy Corbyn and his allies have been accused of preparing to mount “sexist purge” of his shadow cabinet amid claims he is planning to sack senior women in the wake of the Syria vote. The Labour leader is said to be considering the future of six female members of his shadow cabinet including Maria Eagle, the shadow defence secretary, Angela Eagle, the shadow business seccretary and Lucy Powell, the shadow education secretary. Rosie Winterton, Labour’s chief whip who abstained on the Syria vote ,is also being singled out for criticism.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Hatred is Labour’s ‘new politics’ – The Sun Says (£)
  • Labour leader under pressure from MPs over Stop the War fundraiser – Daily Mail
  • He refuses to bow to their request – The Times (£)

Report questions the Anglican Church’s role in the nation

Church shield‘The coronation of the next monarch should be a “pluralist” rather than a Church of England ceremony, according to a two-year inquiry into the role of religion in modern Britain. It also recommends offsetting the dominance of Anglican bishops in the House of Lords by appointing numerous leaders from other faiths. The conclusions come in a report from the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life.’ – The Times (£)

Council parking profits hit £700 million

‘Councils have raked in a staggering £700million ‘profit’ from parking in one year, a report reveals today. They collected more than £1.45billion in charges and fines over the past 12 months. After costs, town hall coffers were boosted by £693million from on- and off-street parking…Lambeth council in London made the most from parking tickets at £18.3million, up 3 per cent on the previous year.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Dutch academic investigates Sharia courts in Britain – Daily Mail
  • Finland considers national basic income – Daily Telegraph
  • Socialists slung out of office in Venezuela after 17 disastrous years – The Independent
  • Colombia finds £1bn treasure galleon – The Times (£)
  • Three strikes and your out rule eroded by weak courts – The Sun (£)
  • Accountants warn of fraud risk – Daily Telegraph
  • Zuckerberg will do more for poverty than governments – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • Campaigners urge firms to be transparent about lobbying – FT
  • Vicky Pattison is crowned Queen of the Jungle – The Sun (£)

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