Friday, 17 July 2015

Faron it is..

Jeremy Corbyn's leadership campaign is continuing to gather steam, but many senior Labourites are worried. David Cameron seems to be enjoying watching Labour tear itself up over its future, revealing to Conservative MPs that he advised the leftwinger to win by emulating how he became Tory leader in 2005, telling him: "You have got to be the change candidate – I was the outsider." Others share Cameron's support for Corbyn's campaign, with Rupert Myers arguing: "New Labour might not like the image which emerges, but at least Corbyn would turn the contrast button up to full and then rip it off the set."

Chuka Umunna has been trying his best to warn Labour off Corbyn, telling the New Statesman: "There are no free hits in this thing, we are not just selecting a Labour leader, we are selecting somebody who is a Labour prime minister." He told Newsnight that some of his colleagues were reacting to election defeat "like a petulant child", chiding them for "screaming at the electorate". One shadow cabinet minister told the Spectator's James Forsyth that Corbyn's candidacy showed Labour was "in real f***eroo territory now." The latest outpouring of rage comes as scores of rebellious MPs forced Harriet Harman to tone down support for George Osborne's benefit cuts, despite the acting leader warning that Labour lost the election because it was not trusted on welfare spending. 

So where does Labour go from here? Ed Miliband isn't keen on the party moving on, with the Sun reporting his message to supporters that "our cause will win one day". Harman has been hamstrung in her bid to shape Labour's direction, while Corbyn's support from local Labour parties is growing, in a sign of his popularity among activists. "Even to have Corbyn as a serious contender inflicts huge damage on Labour," writes Fraser Nelson in today's Telegraph, "and this lack-of-talent contest will run until September". How long will Labour's infatuation with Corbyn last?


British pilots have carried out military air strikes on Syria for the first time, the Ministry of Defence has revealed. The UK personnel were embedded with the forces of Allied nations, including the USA and Canada, which have been conducting strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) terror group. MPs voted against military action in Syria in 2013 and parliamentary authorisation has so far been given only to UK air strikes against Isil in neighbouring Iraq. Follow our liveblog for more updates.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's former top military intelligence official has warned that the Iraq war boosted Isil by "putting fuel on a fire". Retired US Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) last August, told Al Jazeera's Mehdi Hasan that American intervention was a "strategic mistake".


Greece's banks may be able to reopen for the first time in three weeks on Monday, after eurozone policymakers handed them a much-needed lifeline, Peter Spence reports. The European Central Bank agreed on Thursday to raise the liquidity it provides to the country's banks by €900m (£630m), which should tide them over for a short time.

"Greece will continue to endure its long Calvary until somebody has the courage to tell the Greek people – and to keep telling them until the truth sinks in – that the drachma is their best hope of economic renewal," writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. "All they are being told now is that any discussion of the drachma amounts to "treason". If that is the level of intellectual debate, God help Greece."


The NHS is undergoing changes as radical as the Reformation, Jeremy Hunt has said, as he promised to put honesty at the heart of its culture, reports Laura Donnelly. The Health Secretary said that for too long, the treatment of the health service as a "national religion" meant that anyone who questioned its orthodoxy could be left "facing the Spanish inquisition".

"If Jeremy Hunt plays his hand right, the BMA may find that is has, at last, overreached itself and lost the battle for public opinion," writes Sean Worth, David Cameron's former special adviser on health policy, in today's Telegraph. "The real winners of such a victory would be the public themselves, who would be rewarded with a health service that matches their needs."


The Scottish Nationalists are to start regularly interfering in English affairs as part of a plan to use their new strength in the Commons to extend their power south of the Border, Simon Johnson reports. Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at Westminster, said the ranks of new SNP MPs meant the party was no longer restricted to focusing on their traditional Scottish interests and they would now tackle issues affecting other parts of the UK.

This comes as the voting system at the House of Commons is to be changed after the success of the Scottish National Party filled the House with an unprecedented number of MPs whose surnames start with "Mc", Dillon Leet reports. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, has denounced a cover of the left-wing magazine New Statesman that suggests female politicians cannot be successful unless they are childless as "crass".


The BBC has become too big and can no longer justify trying to be "all things to all people" in the age of Netflix, the government has warned as it unveiled the biggest overhaul of the corporation for a decade, Steven Swinford reports. John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, suggested that the corporation should become "narrower and more focused" to help cut the price of the TV licence and reduce the impact it has on commercial broadcasters. "He said all this in a diplomatic, reasonable, even benign manner. But beneath his emollience the BBC will have detected menace," says our sketchwriter Michael Deacon.

Some of the BBC's stars seem dismissive of the government's proposed overhaul. "I think they should switch off the BBC for two months," Graham Norton tells Bryony Gordon. "Just put £24 into everyone's bank account, and switch the BBC off for two months, and people would s*** themselves."


Britain's biggest trade union, Unite, could campaign to leave the EU if David Cameron uses his renegotiation with Brussels to "water down workers' rights", its leader Len McCluskey has said. He told the FT: "The whole question about what Cameron does to workers' rights would require us to review fully our position."


Interest rates could finally start to rise by the end of this year, the Governor of the Bank of England signalled on Thursday nightSzu Ping Chan reports. In the strongest signal yet that policymakers are preparing to act, Mark Carney said the decision to raise interest rate was likely to come into "sharper relief" by "the turn of this year". Allister Heath has written about why interest rates are about to start going up


Tim Farron has won the Liberal Democrat leadership contest, defeating Norman Lamb by winning 56.5 per cent of the vote, and will now have the task of trying to rebuild the party after its decimation in the general election. Dillon Leet has rounded up 24 things you didn't know about Farron, including his love of Doc Martens, his rockstar past and his karaoke song of choice. A former bandmate of the new Lib Dem leader said he would be good at the job because his days as a pop frontman means he doesn't fear rejection. If you're pressed for time, here's all you need to know about Farron in 60 seconds.


Parents of children with summer birthdays could be allowed to start school a year later, after official figures showed that August-born 11 year olds are 50 per cent more likely to be labelled "special needs", Chris Hope reports. The Government has launched the review because of concerns that summer-born children are being unfairly discriminated against at school and are falling behind solely because they are young for their year. 

"Despite the data from a new study, teacher friends of mine are reassuring, and report that children – whatever their date of birth – do catch up in the end," writes Lucy Denyer. "If you don't believe them, and really are desperate for your offspring to become the next sports star or academic wunderkind, then there's always abstinence – a no-sex policy between the months of July and December. Every child deserves the best start in life, right?"


David Cameron has opened a new front in his war on porn after Brussels made Britain's "adult filter" illegal under new rules coming into force next year, the FT's Duncan Robinson reports.  Britain will try to beat the EU ban by proposing national legislation to ensure the porn blocker remains intact, exploiting a loophole in new EU rules agreed last month


@AlexWhite1812: Finland signs up to Greek deal enthusiastically - 'Soini: There were no good options, we had to choose between plague and cholera'.


From The Telegraph

Fraser Nelson - Labour needs saving from itself – and Cameron is the man to do it

Judith Woods - Seven day shift patterns are a must and I should know

Sean Worth - Finally, the BMA is going to lose a health reform battle

From Politics Comment

Asa Bennett - Why Jeremy Hunt is right to take on doctors over weekend working, in one chart

Tom Harris - Smug MPs need to stop the hand-wringing and take a pay rise

James Kirkup - My failed attempt to destroy Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and British democracy

From elsewhere

Atul Hatwal - What if Comrade Corbyn became Labour leader?

John Harris - What Labour's next leader needs to know

Seumas Milne  - The crucifixion of Greece is killing the European project


09.30 Justice Secretary Michael Gove speaks at a Prisoner Learning Alliance event in London on the state of prisons
Germany's Bundestag votes on Greek bailout deal. Angela Merkel is also due to attend a press conference before she departs on her summer holiday
'Two strike' knife possession law in force in UK
BBC Proms begin
20.00 'Any Questions?' on Radio 4 with guests set to incl Nicky Morgan and Chuka Umunna
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale opens an exhibition in Parliament on the Gallipoli campaign 


Andrew Robathan, former Tory MP - 64



No business 


10:00: Second Reading of Private Members' Bills:
Accessible Sports Grounds Bill [HL]
Online Safety Bill [HL]
Constitutional Convention Bill [HL]