EU migrants’ benefit

Several of the media report on David Cameron’s climbdown on EU benefits.  The Telegraph warns that the Prime Minister is a ‘thousand miles away from a deal’.

David Cameron is preparing to make a dramatic climbdown in his negotiations with the European Union by abandoning his central demand for welfare reform.

The Prime Minister has been adamant that he wants to make European migrants who move to the UK wait four years before they can claim state benefits. He made the plan his key pledge, claiming that curbing benefits would make Britain less appealing to migrants and cut the number of people coming from the EU.

But on Saturday senior government sources told the Telegraph Mr Cameron was ready to ditch the idea of major changes to welfare rules. It came after he suffered a backlash from other EU leaders who told him they could not accept his plan to “discriminate” against their citizens when handing out state benefits.

Mr Cameron had been hoping to finalise a deal at a summit of 28 national leaders in Brussels this week, before putting the agreement to voters in a referendum next June.

However, his advisers now accept that he will not win agreement for his welfare reforms. Instead, he will invite his fellow EU leaders to propose other ways to address growing public fears over immigration.

Technically, Mr Cameron’s proposal to make EU migrants wait four years remains on the table but his team said it is no longer a red line.

A senior source said: “The PM is ready to talk this through and find a solution. What matters most is to fix the problems, not the precise form of the arrangements. The four-year requirement is the basis for the discussions. That is the PM’s idea but if there are other ideas that are better, he would be willing to accept those.”

Although the move will be seen as a humiliating retreat for Mr Cameron by critics, who believe he is wasting his chance to get a radical new deal from Brussels, Downing Street insists this is not the case.

The Independent claims Mr Cameron has been forced to back down over his demands.

David Cameron is prepared to abandon his demand for a four-year ban on European migrants receiving tax credits in order to strike a deal on Britain’s renegotiated membership of the EU, government sources have revealed.

In the face of “serious and passionate” opposition to the proposed benefit restriction, the Prime Minister will make it clear to EU leaders at a crunch summit on Thursday that he is prepared to give way and accept alternative proposals – as long as they reduce the flow of migration to Britain.

A senior source said Mr Cameron would not take the four-year benefit restriction off the table “until something better is put on”, but admitted that it was no longer a red line.

Mr Cameron’s dramatic climbdown sets the scene for a surprise agreement limiting the inflow of migrants instead, and comes amid growing speculation that a proposed “emergency brake”, allowing the Government to temporarily restrict freedom of movement, may be agreed.

Government sources said the Prime Minister will order diplomats to work on a new deal in time for the next Brussels summit in February, when the final agreement is expected to be sealed, if he believes the other European leaders have the “political will” to find a compromise.

And the Express claims  he has been ‘humiliated’.

DAVID Cameron is reportedly ready to back down on key demands for welfare reforms in his renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

The Prime Minister has failed to find drum up support around Europe for plans to curb in-work benefits for EU migrants arriving in the UK.

Earlier this week Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister, admitted she did not “see eye-to-eye” with Mr Cameron during a tense meeting.

And other leaders have claimed his “discriminatory” proposal – one of four key demands made to EU bureaucrats – breaches EU principles.

Officials will be told to find an option that meets British demands while also being “acceptable to all”, according to a Government insider.

The source said: “The Prime Minister is set to reiterate the point he made in his letter and speech last month – that what matters most is to fix the problems not the precise form of the arrangements.

“On welfare, he will aim to unlock the political will necessary to find a solution, effectively giving the green light to officials to work up a solution that would both deliver on the Prime Minister’s objective of better controlling migration from the EU while also being acceptable to all.”

Sky News calls it a ‘compromise’.

David Cameron is ready to make compromises on key welfare reform demands as his renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union enters a crucial phase.

When he meets European leaders this week, the Prime Minister is expected to emphasise that migration is a “major concern” for the UK – but that finding a solution that is “acceptable to all” is the priority.

A number of EU countries have balked at Mr Cameron’s plan for a ban on EU migrants claiming in-work benefits until they have been in the UK for four years.

The PM is expected to signal during a leaders’ dinner in Brussels on Thursday that he is open to other solutions.

A Government source said: “The Prime Minister is set to reiterate the point he made in his letter and speech last month – that what matters most is to fix the problems not the precise form of the arrangements.

“On welfare, he will aim to unlock the political will necessary to find a solution, effectively giving the green light to officials to work up a solution that would both deliver on the Prime Minister’s objective of better controlling migration from the EU while also being acceptable to all.”

But the BBC claims he will  continue with benefit demands.

Downing Street has insisted that David Cameron will continue with demands for a curb on in-work benefits for EU migrants in the UK.

Several newspapers suggested the prime minister was to back down on the demand for a four-year wait for such benefits.

They cite government sources suggesting he may be flexible on the issue when he goes to Brussels on Thursday.

The proposal for a four-year wait will be tabled this week, a Downing Street spokesman said.

Mr Cameron is pushing for EU reforms ahead of the UK’s in-out referendum, which he has promised will take place before the end of 2017.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said: “David Cameron has faced resistance from other EU leaders over his proposal to make migrants wait for four years before being eligible for in-work benefits such as tax credits.

“So government officials, over this weekend, briefed several newspapers that the prime minister would signal his willingness at this week’s EU summit to accept alternative proposals to tackle public concerns over immigration.

“But the prime minister has been under pressure from his work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, to agree benefit restrictions.”

Newspapers including the Independent on SundaySunday Telegraph and Sunday Times reported the claim that Mr Cameron was set to “abandon” the demand.

Even the Sun covers the story, in what it claims is an exclusive.

The PM signalled he is ready to strike a deal that is “acceptable to all” in crunch talks with European leaders this week.

It kills off hopes of winning one of the key demands he says are the minimum he will accept for campaigning to keep Britain inside the EU.

Mr Cameron had demanded a four-year cap on benefits claimed by newcomers to Britain — making us less of a lure to migrants seeking a better standard of living.

But the idea was dismissed by Romania and Poland who insisted their migrant workers should be able to send British child benefit back to their kids at home.

Last night a No 10 source said the PM would “aim to unlock the political will necessary to find a solution” — Whitehall speak for caving in.

A source said he had given the green light to officials to work up a solution that would “both deliver on the PM’s objective of better controlling migration from the EU while also being acceptable to all”.

The Guardian reports that the Prime Minister is about to switch his focus from those in work to the jobless.

David Cameron is ready to consider a “plan B” to curb EU migration to the UK, which would involve strict new limits on benefit payments to out-of-work migrants rather than those in jobs, as he seeks to cobble together a new deal for Britain in Europe.

The prime minister will take centre stage at a working dinner with European leaders in Brussels on Thursday evening, where he will say that concerns about migration are a major issue for the British people and that they need addressing before an in/out referendum to be held by the end of 2017.

He is expected to abandon his protracted battle for treaty changes – which would ban EU migrants who are in work from receiving benefits until they have been in employment in the UK for four years – and turn his attention to other measures to reduce the “pull factors” that attract EU migrants to the UK.

Government sources confirmed Cameron’s switch to a more flexible approach, saying that “what matters most is to fix the problems, not the precise form of the arrangements”.

The prime minister’s plan to curb in-work benefits has met a wall of opposition from other EU governments, with many saying they would discriminate against workers from other member nations and cut directly across Europe’s commitment to free movement of labour.

Climate change

The Paris talks on climate change also hit the headlines in many of the media.

ITV reports on the ‘emotional scenes’ after the agreement was reached.

There were emotional scenes at the Paris climate talks as nearly 200 nations finally agreed a deal to attempt to keep temperature rises “well below” 2C.

That excitement was understandable given the historic deal has been 20 years in the making:

The US president has welcomed the Paris climate change agreement, saying it demonstrated “what’s possible when the world stands as one”.

Barack Obama emphasised the US role in the developments that led up to the Paris agreement, including the US role in the earlier 2009 Copenhagen talks, but said the Paris agreement had only been achieved because nations came together.

The Telegraph claims the agreement is ‘a major leap for mankind’

The world has agreed the first universal, legally binding deal to tackle global warming, in a move that David Cameron said marked “a huge step forward in helping to secure the future of our planet”.

The deal, agreed at UN talks in Paris, commits countries to try to keep global temperature rises “well below” 2C, the level that is likely to herald the worst effects of climate change.

It also commits them to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5C – a highly ambitious goal that could require the UK to take even more radical action than under its existing Climate Change Act.

Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, admitted that the world did not “have the answers yet” as to how it would meet the long-term goals of the Paris deal, which would require carbon to be extracted from the atmosphere by the second half of this century.

President François Hollande, the summit host, on Saturday welcomed “the most beautiful and peaceful revolution” and said the deal was a “major leap for mankind”.

The Prime Minister said: “Britain is already leading the way in work to cut emissions and help less developed countries cut theirs and this global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change.”

The BBC reports on the reaction of US President Barack Obama

The climate deal reached in Paris is “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have”, US President Barack Obama has said.

He said it could be a “turning point” for the world to take on the challenge of a low-carbon future.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, also hailed the deal. But some campaigners said it did not go far enough to protect the planet.

The Paris pact aims to curb global warming to less than 2C (3.6F)

Nearly 200 countries took part in tense negotiations in the French capital over two weeks, striking the first deal to commit all nations to cut emissions.

The agreement – which is partly legally binding and partly voluntary – will come into being in 2020.

Describing the agreement as “ambitious”, President Obama said: “Together, we’ve shown what’s possible when the world stands as one.”

As does the Mail.

President Obama has today hailed the Paris agreement on climate change saying it marks ‘a turning point for the world’ due in part to ‘strong, principled American leadership’.

This afternoon leaders from almost 200 countries signed a agreement to drastically cut and them eliminate harmful pollution, aiming to stop global temperatures rising more than 2F before 2100.

Following years of scuppered talks and failed summits, Obama said world leaders had finally ‘met the moment’ by coming together and agreeing to a deal that represents ‘the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got.’

Taking on his critics – including former NASA scientist and ‘father of climate change James Hansen – Obama admitted the deal ‘is not perfect’ but added ‘it’s the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got’

The accord aims to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial times, with an additional pledge to get it closer to 1.5C.

But in a comment piece by Bjorn Lomborg, the Mail claims the agreement will cost a lot of money and not make a lot of difference.

As you might expect, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, which reached an agreement yesterday to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2C, has been an international festival of hot air.

The bland, suburban conference centre hosting the two weeks of talks is populated by oversized animal cut-outs – a blue giraffe, a red camel – that we attendees use as landmarks to find our way around.

You hear people shouting into their phone, ‘I’m waiting by the pink kangaroo!’ But the outwardly cheerful menagerie is actually a Noah’s Ark installation designed to remind delegates of the perils of inaction. Woe to the pink kangaroo if the delegates fail to halt global warming.+5

The French foreign minister, pictured waving, revealed the ‘historic’ legally binding agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rises, to more than 190 officials in Paris

Even the ‘welcome bags’ are worthy, made out of politically correct recycled cloth.

Our French hosts are quick to point out that their government will purchase ‘carbon offsets’ – somewhere a lot of trees will be planted – to balance the environmental damage caused by this massive talkfest.

Within limits, of course. Though there are an astonishing 40,000 people here (30,000 more than recent conferences), the French will ‘offset’ the emissions of just 22,000 official delegates. The other 18,000 should presumably plant their own trees.

The first two days belonged to politicians, and were dominated by lofty rhetoric. Nearly 150 world leaders gathered, delivering speeches that were fairly interchangeable: there was much talk of ‘ambition’ and ‘the next generation’.

Corbyn

Jerecmy Corbyn is also in the papers’ headlines again as an exclusive report in the Telegraph claims his critics are going on a membership drive  in a long-term strategy to oust him

Jeremy Corbyn’s critics are planning to flood Labour with 100,000 new moderate members after privately admitting they will have to wait until 2017 to oust him as leader.

Leading centrist MPs now expect Mr Corbyn to survive next year because the EU referendum will draw attention away from any failures at next May’s local elections.

After a chaotic first three months in the job and a damaging split over Syrian air strikes there is an acceptance that Mr Corbyn’s leadership has stabilised for the near future.

Instead likely future leadership candidates are drawing up an 18-month strategy to “fundamentally” re-energise their wing of the party so they are ready to win in 2017.

Changing the shape of the Labour leadership electorate, creating new think tanks to boost policymaking and generating funding will be the three main priorities.

While the Independent reports that the Labour leader is fighting back.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will make his first concrete move to strengthen his power over rebellious MPs next month by “consulting” on plans to give new control over policy to his army of supporters.

In a private meeting in Parliament on 9 December, Mr Corbyn’s aides told MPs that the influential National Policy Forum – set up by Tony Blair to get a grip on policy-making – would be overhauled and replaced by a new system.

Mr Corbyn (inset) wants to see party members consulted in more “e-referendums” – a device he used to gauge opinion on Syrian air strikes before the House of Commons vote earlier this month. He also wants the annual party conference to be given much more say on policy.

MPs fear Mr Corbyn plans to use the consultation to give the thousands of new supporters, who paid £3 for a vote in the leadership election, voting rights in Labour constituency parties – a move that would further reinforce his power. Currently “three-pounders” have no formal role and would have to sign up again to take part in another leadership election. MPs told The IoS the proposal would take the party “back to the bad old days” of chaotic party conferences riven by public rows and hijacked by the hard left.

Europe Union

In a Telegraph comment piece, Simon Heffer describes the EU as ‘in its death throes.

The idealism of Schengen is unsuited to a world of armed psychopaths. No wonder Le Pen is flourishing in French elections

Since the attack on Paris last month attention has been diverted from one of the other dispiriting stories of our times: the state of the European Union. Events in the last week compel us to look again at this monster, because things are not going quite so smoothly as its management wants us to believe.

The success of the Front National in last Sunday’s first round of the French regional elections was not just down to anger at the government’s handling of Islamic extremism. It was also because of disillusion with the old French political class over what is seen as the Brussels-imposed austerity. In truth, France’s economic morass has less to do with Brussels than with the insane socialist policies of François Hollande – though France would greatly benefit from leaving the euro, reinstituting the franc, and devaluing to put its economy back on track. However, Marine Le Pen’s souverainiste message – promising to regain French sovereignty – has proved powerful.

The EU is also responsible for the open borders immigration policy that made it so easy for Islamic extremists to move back and forth from Belgium, and allows relatively easy passage of firearms across the continent. To be fair to the EU, though, France’s historic neglect and ill-treatment of its Muslim population has contributed greatly to tensions in that community. But the EU has scarcely made things better.

On this side of the Channel, things are going so badly with the alleged renegotiation – which has become the modern political equivalent of fairies at the bottom of the garden – that Mr Cameron’s friends are saying he may join the Brexit campaign. It is a thought that fills that campaign with horror, given the baggage Mr Cameron would bring with him, but it is highly unlikely it will ever happen. But if this “threat” was designed to shake our European partners into compliance with British wishes, it hasn’t worked.

Meanwhile, the Empress of Europe, Angela Merkel, is made Time magazine’s woman of the year, a reward not least for her open invitation to Syrian refugees to settle in Germany. Given the speed at which her population is ageing, and the high calibre of many of these refugees – a fair proportion highly qualified and able professionals and entrepreneurs – it may be that her calculations went beyond the purely humanitarian. But her claim that Europe can absorb millions of refugees has outraged many of her supporters in Germany, and prompted the Hungarians (who have put up a fence against immigrants) to accuse her of “moral imperialism”.

Shaker Amer

The Mail has an exclusive interview with the man who has recently been released from Guantanamo Bay who says that ‘Jihadis must get the hell out of Britain’.

The Briton held at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years said last night that Muslims who support terror attacks have no right to live in this country – and demanded would-be jihadis ‘get the hell out’.

Shaker Aamer has spent five days talking to The Mail on Sunday in a series of world exclusive interviews – his first since his release.

Courageously, he made his angriest comments about Muslims who plot terror in Britain, even though he was tortured, beaten and held for 5,007 days at Guantanamo under suspicion of terrorist activities without ever being charged. He has been cleared by the US twice.

He also expressed revulsion at the murder of hostages by Islamic State, saying the extremist group’s treatment of prisoners had abused basic principles of Islamic law.

Health

The Express has a story about the setting up of ‘frailty units’ to examine how the elderly can be discharged more efficiently from hospital.

A NEW approach to the elderly in which pensioners undergo a “bespoke MoT” in hospital emergency wards has cut their admissions by up to a third.

Now the pioneering units, known as “frailty units”, in which patients receive physiotherapy, medications assessment, consultant visits and social care, are being considered by hospitals elsewhere.

The news comes as figures last week show a record number of vulnerable elderly patients stuck in hospital beds as discharging delays hit an all-time high.

Pensioners are given a full health check on admission, rather than a focus on a specific cause.

For example, doctors will look at the potential causes of a fall, such as a poor mix of medication, rather than just the damage caused by the fall.

A battery of other checks is also carried out in a bid to prevent future problems.

The package of care leaves them better able to live independently in safety.

Yesterday Dr David Oliver, president of the British Geriatrics Society, said: “This method could help transform the NHS. Elderly people get stuck in hospitals which is often bad for their health and not good for hospitals. Most new acute admissions are elderly patients.

Education

Unregistered schools are being targeted by the Education Secretary, reports Sky News.

The founders of three unregistered schools in Birmingham could face being jailed after the Education Secretary demanded Ofsted prepares prosecution cases against them.

Nicky Morgan says she wants to “eradicate” schools that are illegally set up with a narrow Islam-focused curriculum as part of the Government’s commitment to “tackling extremism in all its forms”.

Ofsted revealed that three unregistered Birmingham schools were shut down by inspectors last month after they found texts described as “misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic”.

Of the three, the only one to be named is Bordesley Independent School, where inspectors found dirty mattresses and a lack of running water in conditions described as unhygienic and filthy.

In the wake of last year’s inquiries into “Trojan Horse” Islamist schools, Mrs Morgan’s team gave Ofsted additional resources and tasked them with investigating suspicious organisations.

Where Ofsted identifies an immediate threat to the wellbeing of children, it is advised by the Government to bring together the local authority and the police to close the school and find alternative education for the pupils.

Now the Education Secretary has asked Ofsted to prepare cases for prosecution against organisations operating as full-time schools without registration.

It comes after the chief inspector of schools accused the Government of sending out mixed messages to education centres about when they needed to register.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said he was concerned organisations received “confusing and unhelpful” advice from the Department of Education that they can continue to operate while applying to register.

 

ITV has the same story.

The founders of illegally-operating schools, including three closed down in Birmingham last month, could face jail after education secretary Nicky Morgan ordered inspectors to draw up legal cases against them.

Ofsted shut down three schools in Birmingham last week.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools, disclosed the three were offering a narrow Islamic-based curriculum that included anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic material.

Teaching was also taking place in conditions that represented a fire risk, he said.

Ofsted has now been told to prepare cases for prosecution against all 18 of the unregistered schools it has discovered, as well as against all future cases.

The cases will go before the education secretary, who will decide if a prosecution can be pursued.

The move follows a letter from Sir Michael to Ms Morgan calling for an “urgent” review that would ensure illegal schools are disrupted, and is part of a wider drive to stop children being exposed to extremist ideologies.

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