Government wins Syria vote – but Corbyn secures a second debate today

‘Mrs May defended her decision during six hours of debate on Monday. She said there was evidence the Assad government was behind the chemical weapons attack in Douma and it was “legally right” to join the strikes. Labour leader Mr Corbyn said the decision to authorise air strikes without Parliament’s approval set a precedent for possible, more dangerous action in the future. He said the debate was needed to clarify the government’s obligation to consult MPs before military intervention, which is the current convention…Monday’s debate ended with a vote, forced by the SNP, on whether the House had sufficiently debated the matter of Syria. The government won the motion by 314 to 36 votes, a majority of 278, with Labour abstaining.’ – BBC News

  • May presented the legal case, and took hours of questions – FT
  • Labour MPs shake their heads at Corbyn’s stance – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Opposition MPs say May would have had their support if she had asked them – The Guardian
  • Corbyn’s blather about legality is a smokescreen for his fanaticism – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • He doesn’t want a war law, he wants a war ban – William Hague, Daily Telegraph
  • Russian media loves the Labour leader – The Sun
  • Israel strikes Syrian airbase – The Times
  • Abbott posts fake image of Israeli jets bombing Tehran – Daily Mail
  • Baroness Cox and Fraser branded ‘idiots’ for Syrian propaganda tour – The Sun



UK and US warn that Russian hackers already have access to devices in our homes

‘A global Russian hacking offensive has targeted millions of computers to spy on governments and lay the foundation for an attack on infrastructure, Britain and the United States warned last night. Tens of thousands of devices in British homes including wifi boxes are in the sights of Kremlin-backed cyber-experts who are searching for weaknesses such as easy-to-guess passwords and expired anti-virus software. Security officials said yesterday that Russian hackers were seeking to find ways to sit invisibly within networks enabling them to launch a cyberattack should the order be given. Businesses have also been targeted as hackers have sought to steal intellectual property. In an unprecedented warning, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House signalled that the extent of the penetration was so deep and widespread that it had given President Putin a “tremendous weapon”.’ – The Times

  • Twitter accounts that spread conspiracy theories about the Skripals now focus on Syrian strikes – The Times
  • British firms told to avoid Chinese phones – The Times

Rudd does not know if any of the Windrush generation have been wrongly forced to leave Britain

‘Amber Rudd yesterday admitted members of the ‘Windrush generation’ may have been kicked out of Britain by mistake. The Home Secretary conceded she did not know whether Caribbean migrants who came here in good faith after the Second World War had been wrongly removed. In farcical scenes, ministers at first appeared to admit some had been ‘horrendously’ kicked out, then insisted they hadn’t, and then said that they didn’t know. Miss Rudd faced a call to resign and was summoned to the Commons to apologise for the fiasco. Labour’s David Lammy told fellow MPs it was a ‘day of national shame’.’ – Daily Mail

  • The Home Secretary apologises for “appalling” mistreatment – The Times
  • May will offer a personal apology today, too – The Sun
  • Wrongly branded an illegal immigrant after half a century – Daily Mail
  • 2013 leaflet for deportees urged them to use a Jamaican accent – The Guardian
  • Home Office abandons legal proceedings against Singaporean trainee doctor – Daily Mail
  • Rees-Mogg warns of ‘intrusive’ police powers – The Sun
  • UKIP’s Hamilton says Powell was right – WalesOnline



  • No-one in government comes out of this sorry tale with much credit – FT Leader
  • Control is one thing, instilling fear in legitimate residents is quite another – The Times Leader
  • Rudd should stop trying to shirk responsibility, and get a grip on her department – The Sun Says
  • Stop this injustice – Daily Telegraph Leader

>Today: ToryDiary: Rudderless over Windrush


The Prime Minister backs Prince Charles to succeed as head of the Commonwealth

‘The Prince of Wales is set to be chosen to succeed the Queen as the next head of the Commonwealth by its 53 national leaders this week after he received the support of Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn has said that Charles should not automatically take over, suggesting that the holder of the post could be decided “on a rotational basis”. Kate Osamor, the shadow development secretary, went further last week, saying that Prince Charles was not suited to the role. Ms Osamor said that someone who was “level-headed, someone people respect, but also someone who thinks outside the box” would be a better candidate. “I just don’t think it should be him. I don’t really know what he’s been up to of late. He’s not been that vocal on issues,” Ms Osamor told The House magazine.’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Joe Porter on Comment: We must press the cause of LGBT rights as the Commonwealth summit opens here today

Peers prepare to launch assault on Brexit legislation this week

‘Ministers are braced for a series of defeats on the central Brexit legislation in the House of Lords this week. The withdrawal bill begins six days of votes there tomorrow. Peers are expected to open the parliamentary wrangling by defying the government on the customs union, one of the main prongs of Theresa May’s strategy. A cross-party amendment to the bill, which transfers European law to the British statute book, requires the government to negotiate a continuing customs union with the EU after Brexit. Its backers, who include Lord Patten of Barnes, the former Conservative Party chairman, and Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, the UK’s former chief diplomat, are bullish about the prospect of defeating the government by a large margin.’ – The Times

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: Could Macron be the leader to deliver the Brexit deal that Davis is battling for?

New row as Corbyn invites anti-Israel group to roundtable intended to resolve antisemitism dispute

‘Jeremy Corbyn is to host a “round table” meeting with Jewish organisations – believed to include the anti-Israel Jewish Voice For Labour group – just one day after he meets with leaders of the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council in a bid to resolve the on-going antisemitism crisis. An email leaked to the JC and sent by Mr Corbyn’s office and new General Secretary Jennie Formby confirms that the meeting – titled Respect and Engagement: Labour and the Jewish Community – is to go ahead at the party’s London headquarters next week. Invites are believed to have been sent out to the Jewish Labour Movement, the JLC, the Board of Deputies, the CST and the All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism…the decision to include a group such as JVL in the discussion is likely to infuriate the Board, the JLC and the JLM. One source told the JC:”It’s Jeremy wanting to look as though he has reached out to everyone he possibly can on this matter. And not realising the consequence of his actions.”‘ – Jewish Chronicle

Lipsey: Pollsters must up their game or risk a ban

‘If, therefore, you see a poll that reads Labour 40 per cent, Conservative 40 per cent, this may equally mean Labour 43 per cent, Conservative 37 per cent (a 6 per cent Labour lead) or Conservative 43 per cent, Labour 37 per cent (a 6 per cent Tory lead). Our select committee notes this and the three most recent fiascos, and concludes it is possible that polling “might have taken a turn for the worse.” This matters. Polling often dictates the political agenda of elections — the Conservatives, for example, cleverly turned the 2015 campaign into a debate about the “coalition of chaos”, though we now know no such coalition was ever on the cards. Polling can turn from a tool informing and empowering the electorate to a broken compass sending it in the wrong direction.’ – Lord Lipsey, The Times

  • He wants social media regulation, too – The Sun

The health service could save £800 million a year by streamlining quangos

‘The NHS could save £800million a year by slashing the number of quangos from 19 to seven, experts claim. They say the current system is a ‘total mess’ with too many expensive bodies performing the same function. This creates confusion for the public – as well as NHS staff and civil servants – and results in poor performance. A report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group recommends axing three bodies whose role is concerned with advising managers: NHS Improvement, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and the National Information Board. A further nine should be merged with existing bodies which perform very similar functions, the report recommends. For example, Nice (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) should combine with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to form a single drugs watchdog.’ – Daily Mail

  • In some areas a third of children miss out on their first choice of primary school – The Sun
  • Charity reforms in probation have not worked, report argues – The Guardian

British researchers inadvertently create plastic-eating enzyme

”Scientists hope an engineered enzyme that eats plastic could usher in a recycling revolution – and it was found entirely by accident. British researchers inadvertently created the plastic-digesting enzyme while conducting X-ray experiments on natural bacteria found in a Japanese recycling centre, causing it to mutate into a more powerful enzyme. Tests showed that the lab-made mutant had a supercharged ability to break down polyethylene terephthalate (PET), one of the most popular forms of plastic employed by the food and drinks industry, and convert it into its original chemicals. This could help reduce waste output and also tackle the use of crude oil in plastic manufacture.’ – Daily Mail

  • Isn’t nature amazing? – The Times Leader
  • Scientists close in on an HIV vaccine – The Times
  • Britain’s quest to lead the world in battery technology is 20 years too late – FT
  • Air pollution is a ‘medical emergency’ – The Scotsman

News in Brief