The papers: The jihadi issue and a Clacton by-election "bloodbath"

Sunday's papers are full of discussions about jihadists - their actions; their appeal to a small, alienated sector of young Muslims, and the security threat to Britain they pose.

Image copyright Reuters

The Sunday Express says the government is poised to unveil a "radical plan" which will see those suspected of fighting with extremists in the Middle East being banned from returning to the UK.

Other measures, the Express says, will make it easier to seize the passports of those trying to leave the country to join jihadist groups.

Labour's former communities secretary Hazel Blears tells the paper that control orders should be brought back as a way of supervising terror suspects, and the Prevent programme should be revitalised as a way of discouraging radicalisation of "the next generation of British Muslims".

A Number 10 source quoted in the Independent on Sunday said there would be "no return" to control orders as they had been "struck out by the courts", however their successor measure TPims would be toughened to effectively impose "internal exile" on those subject to them.

In the Observer, the former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown accuses the government of "a spasm of knee jerking which would have made even St Vitus concerned" over the issue.

He said senior Conservatives had taken to the airwaves recently "to tell us how frightened we should be".

Lord Ashdown, in an article in the paper, notes the current "severe" terrorism threat is the same as that currently in place in Northern Ireland for the last four years, and over the entire UK for much of the 1980s and 90s.

He argues that a co-ordinated international strategy is Britain's best defence with "diplomacy playing a far greater role than military action".

The Sunday Times' lead notes that some of "Britain's most influential imams" have declared a fatwa "religiously prohibiting" Britons from joining jihadist forces in the Middle East, whom they brand as "heretics".

Baroness Warsi, the former Foreign Office minister, said: "These are substantial figures and I welcome this announcement.

"The Islamic State is neither a state nor Islamic. I echo the words of these religious leaders."

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Britain's first Muslim peer Lord Ahmed said mosques had failed young people from the communities they serve.

"Many mosques are dangerously cut off from the rest of society," he says, "rooted in the ancient world not the modern one.

"This approach is reflected by the way imams behave. Many rarely mix with other faiths."

Lord Ahmed says the problems stem from the way mosques are run.

"There is no formal structure, no transparency, no financial accountability, no elections, nor are they accountable to any form of body.

"I cannot think of any other organisation in this country with such influence and vast resources that is allowed to operate with such little scrutiny."


There are many stories springing from the Rotherham child abuse scandal in Sunday's papers.

The Independent on Sunday reports that parliament is to demand to know what Home Office officials - and ministers - knew about the exploitation of young girls by grooming gangs.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rotherham

The paper says there are questions as to whether the issue was deliberately "played down" during Tony Blair's government.

It notes that a Home Office researcher was asked to investigate reports from Rotherham in 2001, but the report on the cases uncovered at that time was never published "due to pressure from the police and council officials who challenged its accuracy".

The Sunday People says "damning minutes" from Rotherham's council show that "hundreds" of teenage girl disappeared from care placements in the town during the years the grooming gangs thrived, and "high numbers" were still missing as recently as June this year.

The paper notes 100,000 children in council care are reported missing every year in Britain.

The Sun on Sunday reports on a council-run initiative called Risky Business which was set up in 1997 to tackle "Asian sex gangs". It says the venture was shut down in 2002.

Solicitor David Greenwood, who represents some of the Rotherham victims, tells the paper "the social workers from Risky Business shouted as loud as they could, but each time they were ignored. The council didn't want to know and nor did the police."

The Observer interviews former Yorkshire MP Ann Cryer who it says was the "first public figure" to talk about the problem of "young Asian lads" grooming "under-age white girls" in northern towns.

Ms Cryer says she was "shunned" by some of her colleagues in the Labour Party, and others privately called her "brave", but would not themselves speak out about the situation.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, MP Simon Danczuk says social services departments have been failed by bad management and a "tick-box culture" similar to the one that brought about the collapse of the banking sector.

"In many areas of social work, the same tick-box culture, the lack of values and a failure to have the remotest understanding of the complex lives of those being dealt with is bringing about a similar collapse.

"And like the banks, it will have far-reaching consequences for society."

The Mail on Sunday says a "day of reckoning" is coming to child abusers with "wave after wave" of arrests planned to tackle the scourge.

The paper says 180 men, mostly from the Asian community, are "set to be rounded up" in Manchester alone.

A police source tells the Mail it is "coincidental" that the crackdown is coming so soon after the publication of a report into the Rotherham abuse.


The prospect of a UKIP landslide in the forthcoming Clacton by-election is the Mail on Sunday's lead.

The paper has commissioned a poll which suggests 64% of Clacton voters might support UKIP, meaning the seat would slip away from Conservative control with a record-breaking 48% swing.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Douglas Carswell, the former Conservative who may trigger a "political earthquake" in Essex

The head of the firm who carried out the poll says it suggests the result in the Essex town really could be "a political earthquake".

Damian Lyons Lowe, of Survation, adds: "More worrying for the prime minister is the reaction of other potential Tory MP defectors to the likely outcome."

A Conservative official played down the poll, telling the Mail that the UKIP candidate, the defecting MP Douglas Carswell "has had the benefit of huge publicity over the last few days.

"We were taken by complete surprise by his defection."

The Observer's political editor Toby Helm says the prime minister is caught between battling to limit the role of the EU in national life, and asking the organisation to help guarantee the security of the British people.

"The [Nigel] Farage bubble has not burst since the European and council elections in May. Clacton will ensure Farage and Co are in the news throughout the Autumn and the UKIP leader's campaign in South Thanet will shine a light on him right through to the general election," Helm adds.

There is certainly a light shone on Mr Farage in the Sun on Sunday, which interviews the politician - as is his practice - over a pint or two in a pub.

The UKIP leader says his party's key supporters are "those that get up earliest" - building workers and taxi drivers.

"That is why we have started to tear chunks out of the Labour vote," he says.

Writing in the Sunday Times, eminent election-watcher Peter Kellner says Mr Farage "is spouting nonsense" when he says UKIP hurts Labour as much as the Tories.

He adds that "logic" suggests that Mr Farage would secretly welcome a Labour victory: "He wants the Tories to lose, to tear themselves apart and then split."

Mr Kellner thinks the UKIP leader "would be waiting to offer to join forces with the Conservative eurosceptics so he could take them over".

One crumb of European comfort for Mr Cameron is reported in the Sunday Telegraph.

The paper says the selection of Donald Tusk as the new President of the European Council is a "major victory" for the British prime minister.

The Telegraph says Polish PM Mr Tusk is a supporter of Mr Cameron's pro-reform agenda.

Making people click

Mirror: Prince William and Kate Middleton's dash through King's Cross Station

Star: Man Utd target Daley Blind at Old Trafford

Independent: Keira Knightley goes topless

Times: Prince Harry's £10m birthday present