EU membership

The Telegraph reports on London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to back withdrawal from the EU.

Boris Johnson will throw his weight behind a major report which says that it would be better for London if Britain were to leave the European Union than stay if David Cameron fails to negotiate reforms.

The report estimates that the UK leaving the EU would be far from catastrophic for the capital, and better than staying if Britain’s position in the organisation is not renegotiated.

It adds that London — which generates just over a fifth of the country’s economic output — would be put at only a slight disadvantage if the UK opted to leave even if reforms were guaranteed.

The Mayor is on Wednesday set to outline an eight-point plan for reform of the EU, setting out the way in which the UK should renegotiate its place in the union.

He will outline the points in a speech at Bloomberg’s London offices, focusing on the UK’s future relationship with Europe. At next May’s general election, Europe is likely to be a crucial battle ground.

With David Cameron under pressure to adopt a tougher line in negotiations with Europe, the report will be seen as an attempt by Mr Johnson to further squeeze the Prime Minister.

There’s a similar story in the Sunday Times.

Boris Johnson will warn David Cameron this week that he must be prepared to leave the European Union if he wants to get a better deal from Brussels.

In what will be seen as a throwing down of the gauntlet, the mayor of London will say the UK should “not be frightened” of quitting the EU.

Johnson’s position is in stark contrast to Cameron, who has repeatedly insisted that he wants Britain to stay and is prepared to lead the “in” campaign during the referendum expected in 2017.

The EU’s Brussels/Strasbourg shuttle

The Express reports on the annual ‘travelling circus’ which sees the whole of the European Parliament up sticks and move to Strasbourg for a month.

Taxpayers are footing a £91million bill each year for the European Parliament to decamp from Brussels to Strasbourg, according to its own auditors.

The “travelling circus” shuttle sees 750 MEPs and 3,000 administrative staff make the round trip to conduct business in the French city for four days a month. They are followed by lorries carrying 2,500 plastic containers of files.

The Court of Auditors report reveals calculations that taxpayers across Europe would save more than £2billion over the next 50 years if the MEPs stayed put.

There would also be a one-off windfall of £490million if the Strasbourg buildings then sold off. The buildings are said to cost £50million a year in upkeep.

Scottish independence

The Guardian reports the SNP’s claims that the triumph of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will put Scots on path to independence.

The success of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland will help to propel the country towards backing independence in next month’s referendum, the country’s deputy first minister has claimed.

As the Games close, Nicola Sturgeon said the record-breaking medal haul of Scotland’s athletes at the globally acclaimed event had imbued voters with confidence in their country. While insisting that she was not making any “grand claims” for the impact of the Games, Sturgeon suggested they had provided a perfect platform for a yes campaign victory.

Corruption in the Met?

The Independent claims it has found evidence of corruption within the Metropolitan Police Service.

Scotland Yard holds an astonishing 260 crates of documents on police corruption in one corner of London alone – and very few of the rogue detectives have ever been successfully prosecuted.

A review led by one of Britain’s most senior police officers has unearthed a mammoth amount of intelligence spawned by Operation Tiberius, a secret police report written in 2002 that concluded there was “endemic corruption” inside the Metropolitan Police.

The file found organised crime networks in north-east London were able to infiltrate the Met “at will” to frustrate the criminal justice system.

Miliband criticises PM over Gaza

Sky News claims that Ed Miliband has criticised David Cameron’s handling of the Gaza crisis.

 Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of failing to speak out about an Israeli military operation that he describes as “wrong and unjustifiable”.

In a strongly worded statement, he said Mr Cameron had been right to call Hamas an appalling, terrorist organisation.

“But the Prime Minister is wrong not to have opposed Israel’s incursion into Gaza,” said Mr Miliband.

The Opposition leader added: “And his silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israeli’s military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally.”

Downing Street reacted angrily to the statement, insisting the Prime Minister had been clear that both sides in the conflict need to observe a ceasefire.




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