POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo:'We Will Not Buckle' To Terror, Cameron Insists

23/05/2013 08:53 BST | Updated 23/05/2013 08:56 BST
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File photo dated 8/5/2013 of Prime Minister David Cameron. A member of Cameron's inner circle has described grassroots Tory activists as "swivel-eyed loons", according to reports.

Then five things you need to know on Thursday 23 May 2013...

1) 'WE WILL NOT BUCKLE'

David Cameron will lead a meeting of the government's emergency response committee, Cobra, today to discuss security measures after a man was killed in broad daylight on the streets of London in an apparent act of terrorism.

This morning Whitehall sources confirmed to the BBC that the Woolwich victim was a member of the British armed forces. The prime minister cut short his visit to Paris to return to London in the wake of the attack which he described as "absolutely sickening". He added: "We have had these sorts of attacks before in our country and we never buckle in the face of them."

Speaking after yesterday's emergency meeting of Cobra,Theresa May said there was a "strong indication it was an act of terrorism."

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan will be on BBC Radio 4's Today programme discussing yesterday's events at 08.50.

2) DON't RIOT, PLACE A POPPY

Members of the English Defence League (EDL) clashed with police in Woolwich on Wednesday evening following the attack.

More than 50 EDL supporters gathered at Woolwich Arsenal train station, throwing bottles at police, before moving to a nearby pub. The group then marched to the town centre where they were surrounded by police. The leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson, had called to place “feet on the streets” in South London following the murder. The call was quickly rebuffed on Twitter, with the hash tag #DontRiotPlaceAPoppyInstead trending highly.

3) PRESSURE OVER SNOOPERS CHARTER

The brutal terrorist killing of a man on the streets of London sparked calls for the government to revive plans to extend internet and email monitoring powers to the security services.

Former independent reviewer of terror laws Lord Carlile said it should provoke a "pause for thought" on the decision to drop the planned Communcations Data Bill from the Queen's Speech. And Labour ex-home secretary Lord Reid said such measures were "essential" to combating terrorism, warning it could otherwise take "some huge tragedy" to show the decision was wrong. Full-scale legislation was dropped from last month's Queen's Speech in the face of Liberal Democrat opposition to what critics dubbed a "snooper's charter".

4) BACK FOR MORE

Conservative MPs are to defy David Cameron again by demanding that a referendum on Europe is held on the same day as the next general election, The Independent reports. According to the paper Tory MPs have "virtually written off" the prospects of a Private Member’s Bill guaranteeing a 2017 referendum becoming law.

The warning came after the prime minister insisted he would not be pushed around by his own MPs anymore. He said yesterday: “It doesn’t matter the pressure I come under from outside the Conservative Party, or in Europe, or inside the Conservative Party, this policy isn’t going to change.

And Sir Christopher Meyer, John Major's former press secretary, told HuffPost UK that the driving force behind the current rebelliousness is that the "latterday bastards" in the Tory Party believe "there is no way Cameron can win in 2015".

5) OBAMA DRONES SPEECH

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will lay out the rationale for U.S. drone strikes in a speech on Thursday in an effort to be more transparent about his counterterrorism policy.

The U.S. government formally acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that it had killed four Americans using drones in Yemen and Pakistan, including militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Obama has been pressured from both the left and right to allow greater scrutiny of the secret decision-making process for using drones overseas. He said earlier this year he wanted to be more open about how the drone war is conducted.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@adamboultonSKY PM due to make statement on Woolwich today but Commons not sitting and MPs unlikely to be recalled

‏@journodave Graphic images debate rages again; don't the press have a responsibility to present what has happened, unfettered, despite squeamishness?

900 WORDS OR MORE

Steve Richards in The Independent: Our British democracy is a presidential system - minus the President

Martin Kettle in The Guardian: In 2015 Nick Clegg may be in the right place at the right time again

David Aaronovitch in The Times: We’re in the age of coalitions. Get used to it

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (mehdi.hasan@huffingtonpost.com) or Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol