Politics Summary: Friday, September 18th

Barack Obama’s decision to scrap a missile defence shield in central Europe receives a mixed reaction. The Guardian calls it, “arguably the most concrete shift in foreign policy from that of the Bush administration.” It’s a “massive foreign policy gamble” according to The Times while the FT thinks it has “triggered dismay in central Europe and among Republicans on Capitol Hill.” Con Coughlin in the Telegraph is most extreme writing, “the spirit of appeasement is alive and well, and residing in the White House.” A New York Times editorial says it is “a sound strategic decision.”

Greenpeace release new estimates of the cost of replacing Trident. Ministers have said replacing Trident would cost up to £20bn, but the final cost is more likely to be £97bn over the system’s 30-year life. Costs rise to £130 billion when other items like aircraft carrier running costs are included. Former chief of defence staff Lord Guthrie says, “We must examine ways of delivering a weapon more cheaply.” Left Foot Forward has analysis this morning. Meanwhile, The Times has obtained an e-mail sent by Conservative Defence Minister Gerald Howarth to defence chiefs pouring cold water on George Osborne’s remarks earlier this week that Trident would be reconsidered by a new government.

The senior Conservative Lord Strathclyde is to sever his links with controversial oil traders Trafigura. Former Conservative minister Peter Fraser QC is also on the payroll. The Times report that a settlement is near for the victims of the company’s contaminated waste.

In the Telegraph, Gordon Brown writes about the need for “a new Global Compact [and] … co-ordinated exit strategies from our current expansionary measures to make sure the recovery, fragile as it is, is not put at risk.” The Guardian says, “Brown’s plan appears to sanction new intrusions by a permanent G20 secretariat into the individual nation states.”

The Mail report that the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, faces a “raid on her home and £10,000 fine over her illegal immigrant housekeeper.” Downing Street insisted Gordon Brown had full confidence in his “embattled minister.” Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: “This is a Government that says all small employers should be prosecuted if they do not know the immigration status of their employees and yet we have senior ministers who cannot be bothered to make the checks themselves.

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