Politics Summary: Thursday, November 5th

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The killing of five British soldiers in Afghanistan dominates the front pages. Sergeant Matthew Telford, Guardsman James Major, Warrant Officer Darren Chant, Acting Corporal Steven Boote and Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith were gunned down by a policeman in their secure compound in Helmand province. The Independent says the attack “raises Afghan fears of the enemy within”, explaining it “was carried out by one of Captain Laljan’s men, probably with the help of others in the rank, raising fears in the ranks of the troops that they cannot turn their backs on the men who are supposed to be allies against the insurgents”. The Guardian also focuses on fears the Taliban are infiltrating the police, while the Times assesses the impact the deaths will have on public support for the campaign, as does the Telegraph, which publishes a roll call of all 229 UK servicemen killed in the conflict.

David Cameron’s new European policy receives widespread coverage. The Times claims it is in defiance of the Eurosceptic hardliners in his party, who have remained quiet over the issue – a deferred confrontation which may come back to haunt him. “Mr Cameron may have avoided a big internal row over Europe before the election, but his allies privately acknowledge that a narrow majority might leave him exposed on the issue,” says the paper. The Telegraph reports the Tory leader’s desire to focus on “the economy not Europe”, and the Guardian interviews France’s Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche, who describes Mr Cameron’s plans as “pathetic”, warning they would not succeed “for a minute”.

In the wake of the Kelly Report into the expenses scandal, the Telegraph reports that MPs are demanding a pay increase of more than £15,000 “to compensate for the loss of generous parliamentary expenses” – an idea opposed by the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher Kelly. “I think that [a pay rise] would be a totally wrong way of looking at things,” he tells the paper. “Members of the public would look at this suggestion with ridicule. Nothing I have said should be seen as encouragement for that.” The Guardian reports that all three main party leaders support Kelly’s proposals, which are summarised in the Mirror.

The Federal Reserve’s decision to keep US interest rates at 0-0.25pc is the lead story in the FT, which reports that the Fed “expects to keep interest rates near zero for at least six months”, a story also covered by the Telegraph, with the Guardian reporting the new record price of gold of $1,091 an ounce, boosted, it says, “by a decision by the Indian central bank on Tuesday to buy more than £4bn of bullion from the International Monetary Fund”.

The Times reveals the trialling of a new nanotechnology therapy to treat cancer, which, if successful, could become licensed within five years. “The nanoparticle, which targets tumour cells while evading the body’s immune system, promises to deliver larger and more effective doses of drugs to cancers, while simultaneously sparing patients many of the distressing side-effects of chemotherapy,” explains the paper’s Science Editor Mark Henderson.

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