Further reading

Jim Pickard

You might have thought that David Cameron would be steering clear of foreign policy gaffes after his “news-rich” visit to Turkey and India*.

But he has just been accused by Labour of making a new blunder by mistakenly claiming that Iran has a nuclear weapon (at least, we are still assuming he’s wrong) during a PM Direct meeting.

The prime minister was asked why he was backing Turkey to join the EU and said it could help solve the world’s problems….”like the Middle East peace process, like the fact that Iran has got a nuclear weapon”.

Chris Bryant, shadow Europe minister, said Mr Cameron was becoming a “foreign policy klutz”.

“This is less of a hiccup, more of a dangerous habit,” he said. “Considering Iran’s nuclear ambitions constitute one of the most important foreign policy challenges facing us all, it is not just downright embarrassing that the prime minister has made this basic mistake, it’s dangerous.”


Cameron should drive down house prices — Neil O’Brien/FT
Plans to split Afghanistan have never worked — Ahmed Rashid/FT
A freedom pass for social housing tenants — FT
Gieve warns of rapid rise in interest rates — The Times (£)
Lloyds turns profit after lending less and charging more — Peston/BBC
Don’t tack left David, fight the unions instead — The Times (£)
Zardari pulls out the stops for Palin — Spectator Coffee House
Cameron turns grey at sight of Lib Dem poll rating — The Sun

Jim Pickard

Thousands of military reports on Afghanistan leaked to the press via Wikileaks - Guardian
I support David Miliband says Gillian Duffy - The Mirror
Can Vince force the banks to increase their lending? - FT
Business school to set up new university – FT
Tory MP dissidents form “brokeback” club -Daily Mail

Split Afghanistan and give the South to the Taliban — Robert Blackwill/FT
Cameron bangs trade drum as Simon Fraser appointed to FCO — FT
Bank predicts higher inflation and lower growth — Independent
Chill wind hits the Miliband household — Times
Ed Miliband will never leave the party behind — Phil Collins/Times
Swedish schools: expensive, divisive, but better results — The Guardian
Obama must envy Cameron’s grip on power — Garton Ash/Guardian
Ken Clarke prison reforms were inspired by Churchill – Independent

Fox loses ground to the Treasury over Trident — FT
Keep the deterrent secret and cheap — Gideon Rachman/FT
Cameron puts special relationship on less emotional footing — FT
Whitehall efficiency savings? Reliably dubious or detrimental — FT
Clegg’s boundary reforms will disenfranchise the poor — Tristam Hunt
Cameron plots route out of Afghanistan — Rachel Sylvester/Times
Whatever happened to Cam Force One? — The Sun
The sudden lull in newspaper polling — Political Betting

Jim Pickard

The thousands of people who have signed up to a Raoul Moat fanclub on Facebook are clearly moronic on any level. But what exactly is David Cameron trying to achieve today by asking the website to take down the offending page? 

Jim Pickard

I’m told that Andrew Mitchell, the development secretary, will announce this afternoon that he’s appointing Lord Ashdown to a new humanitarian role: “Chair of the Emergency Response Review“. 

Jim Pickard

You have to admire Ed Balls for his persistence. On this morning’s Today programme he suggested that the New Labour battles between the Brown and Blair camps were merely a spot of “creative tension” that led to “great achievements.”

Bear in mind that there were vicious screaming matches between the two men and periods where they were barely on speaking terms – creating dysfunction at the top of the government machine

Jim Pickard

Baffled and perplexed by plans to shake up NHS - Philip Stephens in the FT
Lansley is in a hurry and may lose control - Nick Timmins in the FT
I was always thinking straight unlike some colleagues - Mandelson serialisation continues in Times
Short jail sentences are pointless – David Cameron in Daily Mail
Many Tories hate David Cameron – Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome
Mark Hoban mulls tax on bank profits – FT

Jim Pickard

Carne Ross, a former British official to the UN*, offered his controversial testimony to the Chilcot inquiry today – and it makes uncomfortable reading for the government of the time.

In his written evidence, Ross said he believed the government had “intentionally and substantially exaggerated” its assessment of Iraq’s capabilities ahead of the 2003 invasion. For example, he revives the point that Iraq was officially thought to have “up to 12” Scud missles – which became “up to 20” in the September dossier.

Ross also highlights flaws in a paper sent to the Parliamentary Labour Party by then foreign secretary Jack Straw to drum up support from MPs. 

Kiran Stacey

Mandelson: Clegg killed off Brown – The Times
Plans for GPs to control up to £80bn of NHS funding –The Times
Budd sets out to repair OBR’s reputation – FT
Government puts extradition under scrutiny – FT
Pressure piled on Gove over schools errors – FT
Food Standards Agency to be abolished by health secretary – The Guardian
Probation watchdog: serious crimes may be price to pay for cutting cost of justice – Daily Telegraph
Cameron and Clegg promise to give power away – Daily Telegraph
Osborne’s cap on housing benefits will ‘drive poor families into ghettos’ – Independent

Jim Pickard

Incidentally, we said on Friday that Mandy’s publisher had not taken out any adverts; true enough. That hasn’t stopped the Times – which is serialising the memoirs – from doing its own TV ad. Shades of Professor Snape?