After promising last week to tackle “sink estates” in Britain, David Cameron is setting his sights today on the difficulties Muslim women have with integrating – by urging more of them to learn English. He is expected to use a speech today to call on more Muslim mothers to learn the language so they can play a bigger role in society, after privately suggesting that their “traditional submissiveness” is one of the main reasons young men are vulnerable to radicalisation. “At the moment, too many Muslim women are treated like second-class citizens who may speak only basic English at best, and have no jobs or independent financial standing,” a government source said.
The Prime Minister set out the context of his speech in this morning’s Times, declaring that Britain needed to be “more assertive about our liberal values, clearer about the expectations we place on those who come to live here and build our country together, and more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers”. The government will also set aside £20 million to improve the availability of English lessons for migrants. Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi, a former Foreign Office minister, sounded a scepical note on Twitter, questioning why this drive should be part of a counter-terrorism strategy. She wrote: “Women should have the opportunity to learn English full stop….why should it just be Muslim women who have the opportunity to learn English? Why not anyone who lives in the UK and can’t speak English?”.
This English language drive has potential economic benefits, with Cameron pointing out that 60% of women from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are economically inactive, so more could be encouraged to work. The Prime Minister’s speech today will have added potency as it comes in the wake of the Cologne style sex attacks. Anti-EU campaigners have already seized on this, with Vote Leave’s Dominic Cumming saying that there was “nothing” to stop the attackers moving to the UK once they get German citizenship.
As civil servants ponder (at least, in their minds) the implications of Brexit, could the Prime Minister come to side with the Eurosceptics? Not likely, says Charles Moore in today’s paper. “Never – with the partial exception of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 – does a top-rank leader end up standing on the eurosceptic side. Always, the precise content of whatever particular European negotiation is going on is suddenly magnified to claim victory by whoever is in power. This is now happening all over again,” he writes.
“We will never truly build One Nation unless we are more assertive about our liberal values”
Millions Face Longer Wait
More than ten million patients a year are struggling to get a GP appointment – with record numbers waiting more than a week, national research has found. NHS statistics show that the proportion of people who are unhappy with the opening times of their local practice has risen by one fifth in three years, amid pleas from patients for seven day opening. Family doctors last night said they are overwhelmed by growing demand, and increasingly unable to provide safe levels of service.
Corbyn: Lose The Warheads
Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that Britain should keep its fleet of nuclear submarines but have them patrol the globe without nuclear weapons. The Labour leader suggested – in an interview on Andrew Marr that was later branded a “disgrace” by John Prescott – that Britain could keep Trident submarines without the nuclear warheads, in a move that will placate the unions who fear abandoning the deterrent could lead to job losses in shipyards in Cumbria and Scotland.
Tulip To Tear Into Trump
Muslim Labour MP Tulip Siddiq has pledged to ‘tear to shreds’ the reputation of Donald Trump in three hour Commons debate on banning the Republican US Presidential hopeful later today. MPs will debate the proposal in Westminster Hall, after a petition, which was launched after the US presidential hopeful called for all Muslims to be banned from entering America, attracted more than 570,000 signatures.
Boris: Apologise To Lord Bramall
Boris Johnson says that Lord Bramall, the former head of the Army who was interviewed as part of a police probe into child sex abuse, deserves a “full and heartfelt apology” from officers. Writing in today’s paper, the London Mayor says: “In this case they were plainly barking up the wrong tree… he deserves to put the last year behind him, and accept the continued thanks of his country.”
Corbyn Y El Gato
Jeremy Corbyn has revealed he won’t name his black and white cat and instead simply calls it ‘the cat’ in Spanish. The Labour leader says he calls his pet ‘El Gato’ and that it answers to the tune of ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree’, which Mr Corbyn whistles to encourage it back in the house.
Cannon Fodder Controversy
Nicola Sturgeon has distanced herself from claims from within her government that a school cadet scheme provides “cannon fodder” for the British Army as she came under pressure to name and shame the culprit. Julian Brazier, a Defence Minister, wrote to SNP ministers urging them to help promote the setting up of cadet units in schools, particularly in deprived areas. But a senior SNP government source was quoted in the Sunday Herald stating: “There’s no way we’re having this cannon fodder scheme in schools.
Middle Class Discount
Middle class families should no longer have to pay the cost of jailing petty criminals, under a plan set out by a left of centre thinktank today. The Institute of Public Policy Research said the offenders’ prison costs would be billed to their home town’s council to help cut the growing prison population. Cash held by Whitehall to cover custody costs would then be handed to the councils and spent on drug and alcohol dependency programmes to help prevent repeat offending.
Deputy Speaker Under Fire
A black Labour MP has been accused of “playing the race card” after complaining that the deputy speaker in the House of Commons was guilty of “a racial bias” and saying a top black Tory MP only likes white people . Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent Central, has accused Eleanor Laing, a deputy Speaker, of failing to call on ethnic-minority female Labour MPs during debates in Parliament because of “an unconscious bias on her part — a racial bias.”
Clinton Takes On Sanders
Hillary Clinton, the US Democratic presidential front-runner, used a televised debate on Sunday to accuse her rival, Bernie Sanders, of being inconsistent on regulating Wall Street, weak on gun control and unrealistic in his healthcare plans. She used some of her strongest language yet in trying to halt Mr Sanders’ growing challenge to her status as favourite to win the nomination.