Sunday News Review

Cameron and Fox face questions over “strategic” defence review

It took months of agonising discussions between worried politicians and fearful military men to map out Britain’s military strategy for the coming generation. And when David Cameron set out the conclusions of his Strategic Defence and Security Review to a restless House of Commons last autumn, he appeared confident that all the sweat and fears of the previous five months had been worth it. For Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians who had spent years in opposition attacking the previous government over its failure to honour the military covenant and ensure the armed forces were sufficiently resourced and recognised, this was the chance to put things right. Grandly billed as “Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty”, the SDSR mapped “a clear vision for the future structure of our armed forces”, according to the Prime Minister. Yet the most telling assertion was that it was not “simply a cost-saving exercise to get to grips with the biggest budget deficit in post-war history”. – Independent on Sunday

Miliband: Government not learnt lesson of banking crisis

ED MILIBAND last night warned that the Coalition has not learnt the lessons of the banking crisis and urged Chancellor George Osborne to slap an extra tax on bankers’ bonuses. His comments came after Bank of England governor Mervyn King warned of a second ­financial meltdown unless banks are reined in. The Labour leader said: “What Mervyn King is saying is this Conservative-led Government has not learned the lessons of the banking crisis and is still not doing enough to tackle the excesses of the industry. They should reinstate the bonus tax so those who caused the crisis contribute more. They should act on transparency.” Mr King said the 2008 crisis and its £500bn bank bail-out could be repeated. – Sunday Mirror

Universities hit out at foreign student visa plans

Universities across the country will have to close vital science and engineering courses and sack staff unless the home secretary, Theresa May, drops controversial plans to limit UK visas for international students, a powerful alliance of vice-chancellors has warned. In a letter to the Observer, 16 vice-chancellors express their “profound concern” at the proposals, making clear that they will have a devastating effect on universities’ incomes and their ability to run the best courses for British, as well as overseas, students. Their intervention will stoke a cabinet battle that has pitted May, who is committed to cut net immigration from 215,000 to 100,000 by 2015, against the business secretary, Vince Cable, and the universities minister, David Willetts. Cable and Willetts are known to be deeply concerned about the damage to universities and the economy if the £5bn-a-year income universities get from overseas students is choked off. The vice-chancellors, many of whom have lobbied ministers privately in recent weeks, have gone public with the joint letter just days after a 12-week Home Office consultation over the changes was concluded. A decision from ministers is imminent. – the Guardian

Police shake-up warning

The government’s blueprint for police reform, modelled largely on US cities such as New York, will breed corruption and undermine the professionalism of the force, a former senior prosecutor from Manhattan has warned. New York’s former chief assistant district attorney, Jessica de Grazia, has joined the growing chorus of criticism over proposals from Britain’s coalition government to introduce elected police commissioners, among a range of controversial reforms including cuts in pay and conditions. De Grazia will appear alongside the police minister, Nick Herbert, at a Westminster conference this week to condemn the introduction of a US-style system. She said that, although New York’s transformation from America’s “murder capital” to its “safest big city” was impressive, the coalition’s plans to borrow elements of US policing would not work in England and Wales. “You don’t have to have elected commissioners to cut crime; it’s a mistake to equate the two. The worst-case scenario from the plans is that the professionalism of the police could be downgraded, and that could cause corruption and the public to lose confidence in the police,” said De Grazia, who served in the New York district attorney’s office from 1975 to 1987 and became Manhattan’s most senior non-elected law officer, in charge of 400 lawyers, fraud investigators and prosecutors. – the Guardian

Cameron hires business adviser

DAVID Cameron has hired an Old Etonian friend who worked at Lehman Brothers – the bank whose ­collapse sparked the global ­financial ­meltdown.The PM has appointed Tim Luke – an analyst at Lehmans for 16 years – to advise on business ­policy. He recently left ­Barclays Capital where pay averages £235,800. The appointment risks angering Lib Dem MPs who have campaigned against City fatcat pay and bonuses. – the Mirror

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