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Gordon Brown will use a speech today to claim that more has been done to disable al-Qaida this year than in any year since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The Guardian suggest that his remarks are designed to bolster waning support for the war as a Comres poll in the Independent on Sunday showed 71 per cent of the British public want troops to leave Afghanistan within a year. Brown will also use his speech to attack the Tories’ isolationist position in Europe. William Hague, writing in the FT, says the EU should not appoint a “limelight-hungry” heavy-hitter such as Mr Blair, arguing that he would “skew” power away from elected national leaders. But in a blow to the eurosceptic Conservatives, the Telegraph reveals that the new front-runner to be EU President – Belgian PM Herman Van Rompuy – is committed to a European national anthem and the replacement of a range of nationalistic symbols.
The Independent reports that Ministers were in retreat yesterday over plans to abolish tax relief on childcare vouchers paid to working families. On Sky News, Ed Balls, children’s secretary, said it was “good for the Treasury to listen” to the concerns raised about the scheme. “Gordon Brown has been, in the past, criticised for not listening and not moving fast enough, and I think what’s happening here is we’re listening.”
The leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, is to challenge Margaret Hodge for the Barking constituency at the next General Election. The party claims it will stand in more than 200 seats. Margaret Hodge received 13,826 votes at the last election, a majority of 8,883. The BNP finished only 27 votes behind the Conservatives on 4,916.
And the rest:
- Tory unrest grows over Cameron’s ‘dictatorial’ role in picking candidates
- John Bercow spends taxpayers’ money on refurb
- Tories target newest BBC channels for spending cuts
- Cash-strapped Labour ‘gives up’ on 60 vulnerable seats