The Telegraph leads with a revelation: “Labour plans to build on the Green Belt if it wins election

Labour will allow more homes to be built on parts of the protected Green Belt if the land has little “environmental or amenity value”. The small print of the report which is expected to form the basis of housing policy, published Sir Michael Lyons, on Thursday discloses that Green Belt with little “environmental or amenity value” is at risk. The report singles out the Green Belt around cities like Oxford, Cambridge, York and Bristol as ripe for development.

The news comes days after Eric Pickles, the Local Government secretary, set out new tougher protections for the Green Belt amid concerns that councils are sacrificing the protected land to meet local housing targets required under new planning rules.


Telegraph leader writer Mats Persson tells us why David Cameron will struggle to out-Ukip UKIP on EU migration

As I point out repeatedly, the debate about EU migration and free movement has two separate, but related, dimensions: “fairness” – who can access what benefits and when; and “volume” – how many migrants come to the UK every year. So far, David Cameron has been sticking to fairness, seeking to change the EU rules on both out of work benefits such as job-seekers allowance, and in-work benefits such as tax credits.

In my view, this is the right focus. EU free movement is a net benefit to the UK but also comes with challenges, in particular to certain sectors of society such as the low-paid. In order for it to stand in face of increasing pressure, governments need to be able to demonstrate to citizens that they have control over their welfare systems and that public policies to get people from welfare into work, such as tax credits, can be targeted at those who need them most. Bringing back such control will go a long way to address people’s concern about immigration. There is also support in other EU countries for these changes, and it wouldn’t require EU Treaty change, so it’s achievable.

Many of the commenters challenge the phrase “EU free movement is a net benefit to the UK”

In the online Express, Nigel’s picture on Friday gets top billing with One million MORE migrants will flood Britain before EU vote, warns Farage

A MILLION more immigrants are to flood into Britain before the proposed referendum on EU membership, Nigel Farage claimed yesterday.  The Ukip leader said that further turmoil in the eurozone will only increase the numbers of people from poorer European nations coming to Britain – raising net migration from its current level of 243,000 a year.

Speaking to the Daily Express in Ukip’s campaign headquarters in Rochester ahead of next month’s by-election, Mr Farage said the EU Referendum Bill discussed in the Commons yesterday and put forward by Tory MP Bob Neill “simply isn’t good enough”.

And of course, there is also Farage on Friday. The paper also reports on the stupendous Council By Election win in Swale, close to Rochester.

European Union

The Telegraph trumpets a claim that Britain is ‘lighting a fire’ under the European Union, says Philip Hammond

Britain is “lighting a fire under the European Union” by holding an in-out referendum on membership, Philip Hammond said today, as the Bill to give the public a vote cleared its first crucial hurdle in the House of Commons.

The Foreign Secretary said setting in law a referendum on EU membership would force Brussels to grant Britain “meaty and substantial” reforms. The Private Members Bill, sponsored by Bob Neill, a former minister and vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, yesterday sailed through its second reading of the Commons by 293 to 0, and will now face further scrutiny.

The Mirror also reports on this.


The Independent reports on a new investigation after ‘2,000 police officers’ are implicated in corruption

Police corruption is to be investigated by a powerful committee of MPs amid fears of widespread impropriety – as The Independent reveals that thousands of officers are suspected to be crooked.

The Home Affairs Select Committee will launch an inquiry next month into the police’s relationship with organised crime, focusing on the infiltration of forces by criminal networks. The inquiry, which will allow MPs to hear from witnesses under the protection of parliamentary privilege, follows a series of scandals including the inquiries relating to Stephen Lawrence, Daniel Morgan, phone-hacking and Plebgate.

It comes as The Independent can reveal for the first time the Government’s official estimate of how many members of police staff were suspected of being compromised by dealings with criminals.

Child Sex Abuse

The Independent digs further into corruption with “Missing Rotherham abuse scandal files ‘fuel public suspicion of a deliberate cover-up’

Fears of a “deliberate cover-up” by public officials of the sexual abuse of children in Rotherham have been fuelled by the large number of documents detailing the scandal which have vanished, an investigation by MPs has concluded.

They urged the Home Office to launch an immediate search for the missing paperwork and to examine claims that files warning about the activities of paedophile rings were stolen from a locked council office in the South Yorkshire town.

In a report published on Saturday, the Commons home affairs select committee said the “shocking” failure to act on repeated warnings of systematic exploitation had exposed more victims to abuse.

The Guardian and Mirror also cover this. Meanwhile the Express goes to Birmingham with New scandal over child sex exploitation

Dozens of girls, some as young as 11, have fallen victim to predatory gangs.  Three out of four of the men who groom youngsters for sex in Birmingham are Asian. Yet their victims are 82 per cent white, say confidential police statistics leaked this week.

A Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board study in September 2013, never released to the media, found 111 youngsters were at risk of sexual exploitation in the city, some as young as 11 and almost half under 15. The failure to prosecute known offenders was “startling” and “unacceptable” it added.

West Midlands Police said last month that it was currently dealing with 57 live child sexual exploitation cases and 130 suspected cases. Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said yesterday: “Child sexual exploitation remains at the top of our agenda. This issue is very much a hidden crime.” .

The Mirror reports on the Rotherham sex abuse scandal: Home Secretary put under pressure to open probe into cover-up


Charlie Winter in The Independent says America’s bombs are only making Isis stronger, and al-Qaeda has just proven it

Earlier today, a spokesperson for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap), the Yemen-based terrorist group best known for its expert bomb-makers, released a short statement on the subject of Syria and Iraq. In it, he confirmed his group’s support for Islamic State (Isis) and reaffirmed the need for all jihadists in Syria and Iraq to “forget their differences, bring an end to their infighting” and tackle the “Crusader campaign together”.

He also called on “all those who can” to renew their attacks upon “the Americans, militarily and economically […] because they are the leaders of the war and the foundation of this campaign.”


The Guardian leads with World warned that Ebola ‘could be scourge like HIV’

Britain and the United States have issued stark warnings that the international community will be responsible for a substantial loss of life in west Africa and a greater threat across the world unless the financial and medical response to the Ebola crisis is intensified.

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) admitted mishandling the early stages of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, US secretary of state John Kerry said a failure to respond could turn Ebola into “a scourge like HIV or polio”.

In some of his strongest remarks since the outbreak of the virus, Kerry criticised the international community for providing only a third of the UN target of $1bn (£620m). Speaking to the Washington diplomatic corps at the state department, Kerry called on world leaders to provide cash, helicopters and treatment centres.

The Mail reports that PM asks Brussels for £800m to fight Ebola after labelling the virus the ‘biggest health problem for a generation’

David Cameron has laid down a challenge to European leaders to demand they stump up 1billion euros to help tackle Ebola. The Prime Minister said the spread of the deadly virus was the ‘biggest health problem for a generation’ – but that some leaders were not doing their bit.

He has written to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, to say Ebola should be placed on the agenda of next week’s Brussels summit. Mr Cameron said the 1billion euros would pay for 2,000 health workers to fly out to the affected West African countries, to help stem the spread of the disease.


The Independent reports that Russian and Ukrainian presidents edge towards gas deal

Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart appeared to be edging towards a deal to restore gas to Kiev before winter sets in. Putin held intensive one-on-one talks with Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of a summit in Milan to resolve two thorny issues: the fragile ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and a possible energy deal.

It was unclear what, if any, progress had been made on the first but Putin reportedly indicated an initial agreement had been reached on the framework of a gas deal, which it is hoped will be finalised next week in Brussels. “We agreed with our Ukrainian partners on the conditions to renew gas deliveries to Ukraine at least by winter, we agreed on all the parameters for an agreement,” he said.


The Daily Mail reports that Interest rates ‘will stay lower for longer’ as it’s been a ‘pay-poor recovery’, says top Bank of England official

Interest rates are likely to remain ‘lower for longer’ as the ‘jobs-rich and pay-poor’ recovery from the Great Recession slows, a top Bank of England official declared yesterday.  In a change of tack from his comments in the summer, Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, said he was concerned about the outlook for the economy because of weaker global growth, low pay rises and political and financial risks.

‘Put in rather plainer English, I am gloomier,’ he told business leaders during a speech in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. ‘Interest rates could remain lower for longer, certainly than I had expected three months ago.’ Then, Mr Haldane had said the Bank should ‘play off the front foot’ and raise rates sooner rather than later. ‘The statistics now appear to favour the back foot,’ he said yesterday.


Not in the daily papers, but if you’ve made it to here, this article makes a good read: The chimera of anti-politics