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27 Jan 2012 08:26:28

Newslinks for Friday 27th January 2012

8pm WATCH: George Soros: "German insistence on austerity could destory the European Union"

5pm Teatime newslinks: The political debate over Stephen Hester's £1m bonus from RBS leads this evening's teatime newslinks

4.45pm Local government: Council byelection result from yesterday

4pm WATCH: Boris Johnson: "I’m at a loss to justify" Stephen Hester's £1million bonus from RBS

3.30pm Brandon Lewis MP on Comment: To ensure a more productive future, growth can come from outside the Treasury


2pm Do Not Underestimate Labour Association update at LeftWatch: Formation of Coalition was biggest gift to Labour in a generation

1.15pm Local government: Birmingham backs free schools and academies

1pm MPsETC: Tory backbenchers Bill Cash, John Redwood and Bernard Jenkin warn of the dangers of an "undemocratic" EU

Noon ConHomeUSA: New Florida polls and debate performance put Romney back on top

Warsi Sayeeda Sep 1110.45am ToryDiary: To Sayeeda Warsi falls the duty of countering Nick Clegg... and defending Margaret Thatcher's tax system

ToryDiary: David Cameron strongly criticises the €urozone economic model and reiterates his veto decision in Davos speech

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Clegg and Miliband are determined to steal the 'squeezed middle' from Cameron. What's his response?

Nick Hurd MP on Comment: Why National Citizenship Service is working

Local government:

Cameron launches scathing attack on EU’s failure to tackle debt crisis and blasts plans for City tax as 'simply madness' - Daily Mail

  • The Sun says (2nd leader) Cameron would be more credible in Europe if he had a domestic growth plan.

Favourite to become next French president launches far left manifesto: "Opinion polls show Mr Hollande ahead of President Sarkozy by up to 20 points before the two-round election in April and May. Yesterday the socialist leader presented a 60-point manifesto that included increasing the top level of income tax, lowering the retirement age to 60, capping bonuses and abolishing share options and expanding the state sector." - Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: "This is a time for boldness, not for caution" says Cameron

Only one in four Tory MPs believes growth will improve over the next 12 months - Independent

21-page "farming, food and drink exports action plan" aims to get British cheese, sausages and salmon into key export markets - Guardian

Growth comment:

  • Pay London nurses more than Liverpool ones - Anushka Asthana in The Times (£) welcomes suggestions of regional pay bargaining
  • Without more airport capacity Britain won't fully benefit from huge tourist opportunities - Allister Heath in City AM
  • Elected mayors are too good a chance to miss - Independent leader
  • British voters are angry, and globalisation is part of the reason - Economist's Bagehot

Nick Clegg: Rich businessmen and Russian oligarchs who own homes worth £2 million or more should be made to pay a “mansion tax” - Telegraph

Simon Heffer attacks Clegg for wanting to tax the wealthy

HefferSimon"Mr Clegg needs to be honest - not least with himself – about how the public services he reveres are partly paid for by the contributions of the wealthy who, quite often, do not use them. Perhaps someone should also tell him that not everyone who earns over £150,000 a year, or lives in a “mansion”, is a banker, or merits vilification for their “riches”. Many of them have led impeccable business lives, employ large numbers of people, pay substantial taxes, and are big net contributors to society." - Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail

  • Real tax cuts are paid for by reducing public spending – not squeezing ever more from equally hard-working wealth creators - Mail leader
  • "There are not enough very rich to pay all the bills. If the state spends more Mr and Mrs Average have to pay more. Meanwhile Mr  Rich may leave the country or simply hire a better accountant." - John Redwood

Osborne ready to follow Clegg and increases taxes on rich property owners

"George Osborne is ready to crack down on the super-rich who avoid stamp duty when buying expensive homes, it emerged yesterday. The Chancellor plans to raise millions of pounds by targeting those who dodge the 5 per cent levy by holding and trading their homes via offshore companies." - Times (£)

There is "intense irritation" at Clegg's speech amongst senior Tories, reports the FT (£)

Clegg's tax cuts ideas expose embarrassing paucity of George Osborne's own thinking - Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

  • Despite what Clegg says the welfare reform bill will punish all manner of vulnerable citizens on the grounds that a bankrupt Britain has no choice - Guardian leader
  • Fifty former Lib Dem candidates urge Clegg to back Paddy Ashdown on benefits - Guardian
  • Cameron knows the crisis is in the cost of housing, not the generosity of benefits, which are meaner than most in the OECD - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Clegg to Cameron and Osborne: Cut taxes on the poor or defend the wealthy. It's your choice.

Lib Dem minister Jeremy Browne says RBS' Hester should reject £963,000 bonus - BBC

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 06.45.05He's missed lending targets, the share price has plunged and he's axeing 3,500 jobs. But still RBS chief pockets huge bonus - Daily Mail

Treasury feared Hester and board would quit if bonus was refused - Robert Peston

  • Cameron is pandering to the mob over Sir Fred - Telegraph leader
  • HMRC's Dave Hartnett says that householders have a duty to ensure that other people do not evade paying their share of tax - Telegraph

Andrew Tyrie wins high praise for chairmanship of Treasury Select Committee and his determination to cut Mervyn King down to size - FT (£)

Andrew Lansley renews attack on BMA

LansleyInCommons""Look back to 1948 when the British Medical Association denounced Aneurin Bevan as 'a would-be Führer' for wanting them to join a National Health Service. And Bevan himself described the BMA as 'politically poisoned people'. A survey at the time showed only 10 per cent of doctors backed the plans ... but where would we be today if my predecessors had caved in," Mr Lansley said in a speech in Liverpool." - Independent

NHS waiting times soar by 40% in one year since four-hour target was scrapped - Daily Mail

Theresa May announces tough new laws to fight the growing scourge of metal thieves - Sun

The number of uniformed police in England and Wales has fallen by more than 6,000 in the last year to reach the lowest level for a decade - FT (£)

  • Half of all burglars go back to crime within a year of being punished - Telegraph

Salford votes 'Yes' for directly elected mayor in referendum

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 07.40.48"The ‘yes’ campaign emerged as winners by 17,344 to 13,653 votes when the results were declared at 1.30am today. Some 140,793 didn’t vote at all. The council’s Conservative opposition, who ran their own ‘yes’ campaign, welcomed the result. Coun Karen Garrido, Tory group leader, said: “I’m delighted that the people have decided to vote for an elected mayor, which will make a big difference to Salford. It will hopefully break the 40-year rule by Labour.” - Manchester Evening News

Liverpool will also get super mayor after two-thirds of councillors endorse idea - Times (£)

Scottish First Minister criticised for "loaded" question on independence - New Statesman ...David Cameron may propose alternative question - Telegraph ...but Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson backs Alex Salmond's choice of referendum question - Scotsman

  • Alistair Darling has poured scorn on Alex Salmond's claim that an independent Scotland could appeal to the Bank of England in a future financial crisis - Herald
  • Alex Salmond walks with the swagger of a man who feels that these could be the last days of the Union - Jason Cowley in the New Statesman

Ed Miliband: David Cameron can't even stop Chocolate Oranges

Screen shot 2012-01-27 at 07.06.52"Ed Miliband has attacked David Cameron for failing to stop the sale of cut-price Chocolate Oranges - something the PM complained about in opposition... "If he can't sort out the chocolate orange, he's not going to sort out the train companies, the energy companies, the banks, is he?" Mr Miliband said." - BBC

  • "Mr Miliband told The House magazine he wanted to secure public support for giving extra help to some people. “I think the welfare state is too inadequate in some parts,” he said. “If you look at child care, elderly care, social care, at people who are falling back on benefits who are in middle class jobs, I think they’re finding it really tough.”" - Express

Read Mr Miliband's full House Magazine article with Paul Waugh.

The question is not so much whether 20th-century capitalism is failing 21st-century society but whether politics can rise to the challenge of changing a flawed economic model - Ed Miliband in the New York Times

I can’t remember a time when Commons business was so light and the Lords so overloaded - Jack Straw in The Times (£)

The only way to make sure MEPs provide value for money is to abolish them - Express leader

Transport minister Theresa Villiers has a broken collar bone after a cycling accident - Guardian

And finally... Sir Mick Jagger heaps humiliation on David Cameron as he parties with rival Boris Johnson - Mirror


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

26 Jan 2012 08:28:23

Newslinks for Thursday 26th January 2012

7pm WATCH: David Cameron: "This is a time for boldness, not for caution"

5pm Cameron's €urozone speech and Clegg's tax cut speech lead our teatime newslinks

Jeremy-Hunt-2012-01-26-at-11.27.354pm ConservativeIntelligence: Olympics will be supreme test of Coalition’s competence, Jeremy Hunt tells ConIntel reception

3pm WATCH: Nick Clegg: Squeezed middle should be given "more tax cuts, more money back in their pockets"

Skelton2.15pm David Skelton on International: Mitt Romney's inability to attract blue-collar voters mirrors David Cameron's problems in 2010

1.15pm Local government: Frank Field calls for "Premier League" for those on housing waiting list

12.45pm LISTEN: Lord Mandelson: Ed Miliband is "struggling to invent a new left-of-centre political paradigm"

Noon ConHomeUSA: Gingrich and Romney trade blows on immigration ahead of final Florida debate

10.30am Local government: Stockport Lib Dem councillor defects to Conservatives

Screen shot 2012-01-26 at 06.58.51ToryDiary: Clegg to Cameron and Osborne: Cut taxes on the poor or defend the wealthy. It's your choice.

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Why the economy experienced slow growth last year

Amber Rudd MP on Comment: The final day of the Council of Europe's meeting

MPsETC: Ben Gummer MP suggests Labour should submit tax and spending plans to OBR for authentication

Local government: Is Livingstone's support for Council Tax rises just "hypothetical"?

WATCH: Ed Balls: "We've ripped out the foundation of Britain's house as the global hurricane was brewing"

Cameron tells European court it harms fight against terror

CAMERON LOOKING LEFT"European human rights laws undermine the fight against terrorism and put British lives at risk, David Cameron warned yesterday. He said a string of bizarre rulings on terror and immigration cases had ‘distorted’ the ‘discredited’ concept of human rights." - Daily Mail

  • "Countries such as Russia and Turkey could be encouraged to flout the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights if David Cameron succeeds in his aim of reforming of the institution, it was claimed last night." - Independent

> From yesterday:

Cameron gets IMF backing

"Christine Lagarde, IMF managing director, said Britain was not among those countries that could afford to ease up on its fiscal tightening in order to stimulate growth – an approach advocated by Labour." - FT (£)

Argentina president condemns David Cameron over FalklandsThe Times (£)

Nick Clegg urges George Osborne to consider tax cuts for the "squeezed middle" to stimulate growth

Clegg on Marr"The Chancellor will consider speeding up the Coalition's plan to raise the personal tax allowance to £10,000 a year by 2015. ... Significantly, the Treasury has cleared a speech by Nick Clegg today in which he will urge Mr Osborne to go "further and faster" towards the... goal. This was a key Liberal Democrat pledge at the 2010 election and is Mr Clegg's No 1 priority in negotiations with Mr Osborne about the Budget, which have just begun." - Independent

  • "He will argue that middle income families "cannot be made to wait … delivering the £10,000 personal allowance more quickly will need to be fully funded. If that means asking more from those at the top – so be it."" - Guardian

Welfare bill suffers Lords defeat over child support

Lords_Chamber"The coalition has suffered its biggest defeat in the Lords since being elected over plans to charge single parents to use the Child Support Agency. An amendment by Conservative peer Lord Mackay was backed by 270 votes to 128... He argued it was unfair to charge lone parents who had tried and failed to get their ex-partners to pay maintenance." - BBC

  • "Major foul-ups in 21st-century Whitehall always centre on dodgy IT systems... It threatens the Government’s flagship policy of replacing existing welfare benefits with a single universal credit. Ingredients include: an untried IT system that is not expected to be ready on time; major questions of taxpayer confidentiality... and additional burdens on small businesses." - Sue Cameron for the Daily Telegraph
  • Iain Duncan Smith rebuked by watchdogs over figures on migrants - Daily Mail
  • The limit of £26,000 is easy to understand but is largely symbolic. The trouble is, it’s unfair on too many people - David Aaronovitch for the Times (£)

> From yesterday:

Medical group drops plan to publicly cricitise health bill after 'hard lobbying' by Andrew Lansley

Lansley-Big-Ben"Several organisations representing doctors, including the medical royal colleges... may seek a meeting with the prime minister in order to voice their concerns. ... The joint statement by the [AMRC] was agreed on Tuesday and was due to be released on Wednesday, but it was withdrawn after Lansley... began telephoning presidents of the colleges in an attempt to reassure them their concerns would be acted upon." - Guardian

  • Britain’s healthcare system is on the critical list – why are medical unions in denial? - Ruth Porter for City AM

Conservative co-chairman Lord Feldman has accused Nathaniel Rothschild of trying to arrange a donation to the party from a Russian oligarch

"Lord Feldman said he told Mr Rothschild that donors had to appear on the UK electoral roll or the funds had to come from a legitimate UK business. He added: “At no point did Mr Osborne nor I solicit or ask for a donation, suggest ways of channelling a donation or express any wish to meet with Mr Deripaska to discuss donations.”" - Daily Telegraph

Scrap carbon tax say MPs who believe it will have 'devastating effect' on industry

"A carbon tax being introduced next year will increase household electricity bills and could have a ‘devastating effect’ on industry, MPs say.  In a damning report they claim the ‘carbon price floor’ will saddle businesses with higher green penalties than the rest of Europe while failing to deliver any environmental benefits. The Energy and Climate Change Committee urged the Treasury to scrap the plan and warned against revenue-raising exercises ‘disguised as a green policy’." - Daily Mail

Civil servants to decide whether to strip former RBS chief Sir Fred Goodwin of his knighthood

"The work of the Honours Forfeiture Committee is usually kept under wraps but the Prime Minister told MPs on Wednesday that he expected it to sit in the coming days. Political pressure has been mounting for the title awarded to Sir Fred in 2004... to be withdrawn over his role in the subsequent collapse of RBS." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Meanwhile Goodwin’s successor, Stephen Hester, is expected to receive a bonus of less than £1m. The government has put huge pressure on RBS and it is understood talks are continuing. The Treasury has demanded the bonus is paid entirely in shares and is deferred." - City AM

Peter Oborne: Stephen Hester and Chris Huhne are symbols of a country in moral freefall

OBORNE"It is outrageous and insulting that Mr Hester should insist on such a huge salary, and beyond belief that he should be insisting on a bonus. Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that he is by no means the hungriest RBS employee. His colleague John Hourican, the head of RBS’s calamitous investment banking division, is reportedly demanding more than £4 million." - Peter Oborne for the Daily Telegraph

  • Dishonest UK: Lying, drug-taking, speeding and having an affair all seen as more acceptable in the modern age - Daily Mail

Steve Richards: Elected mayors are a great way to return power to the people

"In some policy areas, particularly in relation to public service reform, their apparent transfer of power from state to citizen will prove illusory and will leave most citizens even more powerless. But if most cities elect mayors, the redistribution of power will be real, as significant as the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London, and in some ways more so." - Steve Richards for the Independent

Peter Mandelson: Labour put too much trust in globalisation - The Times (£)

Alex Salmond unveils Scottish referendum question

Salmond-alex-politics-show"First Minister Alex Salmond today unveiled his plans for a "straightforward" vote on independence which could see Scotland leave the United Kingdom. Mr Salmond launched the Scottish Government's consultation on a £10 million referendum at Holyrood. ... The Scottish Government proposes asking Scots: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"." - Independent

  • "Alex Salmond was accused yesterday of trying to push through a “loaded” referendum on Scottish independence as he revealed the wording he wants to put before the Scottish people in 2014." - The Times (£)
  • Alex Salmond's wish is for a home rule option for Scotland – and he'll get it - Martin Kettle for the Guardian
  • If Mr Cameron fails to stand up to the devious, slippery Alex Salmond, the end of the Union will be his wretched legacy - Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail

> Yesterday - WATCH: Alex Salmond: "I think we could win the argument and win the referendum"

Welsh flagPlaid victories 'could deliver independence referendum' - BBC

  • Nominations close for Plaid Cymru leadership election - BBC

RAF Northolt: "may be sold to property developers" - Daily Telegraph

BBC must promote excellence and not be vulgar says Lord Patten - Daily Mail

Dangerous deportation techniques may still be in use, MPs warn - Guardian

MPs call for action against metal theft - Guardian

And finally... Gordon Henderson MP invites Jeremy Clarkson to see the real Isle of Sheppey

"Tory MP Gordon Henderson, 63, has invited Jeremy Clarkson for a drink in his constituency, the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, after the ill-mannered star of Top Gear said the area was 'mostly a caravan site'. Clarkson is based near desirable Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, but Henderson points out: 'He was born and raised in Doncaster. Yet he has the gall to criticise Sheppey.'" - Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here

25 Jan 2012 08:29:07

Newslinks for Wednesday 25th January 2012

8.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: The ECHR "should not undermine its own reputation by going over national decisions where it doesn't need to"

6.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron tells the European Court of Human Rights to return to its founding principles

5pm PMQs, growth figures, and speeches by David Cameron and Boris Johnson lead our teatime newslinks

Johnson Boris On Tube4pm ToryDiary: Boris Johnson's re-election budget presents his manifesto for transport, housing and crime

3pm Andrew Boff on Comment: The ECHR - putting the figures in context

2pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: "Growth has been flat-lining in our economy since well before the €urozone crisis"

1.30pm ThinkTankCentral: Think tanks give continued support for deficit reduction, but urge more short-term growth measures

Pmqs Jan 2512.45pm ToryDiary: PMQs: Miliband attacks weak growth figures, but Conservatives fight back on benefits cap

11.45am ConHomeUSA: Obama targets America's wealth creators in Left-leaning State of the Union

11.30am Amber Rudd MP on Comment: Day two of the Council of Europe's meeting

11am ToryDiary: George Osborne would still get wet in a thunderstorm with an umbrella... but I'd prefer he had one

Hammond Philip cuts10.45am WATCH: Philip Hammond: "Nobody likes to make redundancies, nobody likes to have to shrink the Armed Forces"

10.30am Nadhim Zahawi MP on Comment: Ed Balls' economic plans are not supported by the IMF

ToryDiary: We mustn't sleepwalk into war with Iran

Columnist Jill Kirby: The Government should now capitalise on its popularity and set out the principles which underpin the welfare cap

GlenJohnJohn Glen MP on Comment: Compulsory redundancies for military personnel but voluntary redundancy for civilian personnel. Further reform of the MOD is urgently required

Maria Miller MP on Comment: Our child maintenance reforms will help parents take control of their lives

MPsETC: 84% of reporters and guests on Radio 4's Today programme are men. Nadine Dorries is on the warpath.

International: Oops! Australian Labor MP caught red-handed plagiarising Hollywood

Bob Neill MP on Local government: Councils should offer real help now to families’ cost of living

Also on Local government: Elections for city mayors planned for November 15th

WATCH: Alex Salmond: "I think we could win the argument and win the referendum"

David Cameron calls for reform of the European Court of Human Rights

CameronUK"David Cameron is to warn that the European court of human rights is in danger of turning into a "small claims court" that fails to deal with serious violations of human rights, unless it embarks on reforms. Amid anger in Britain at last week's decision of the court to block the deportation of the Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan, the prime minister will on Wednesday accuse the court of undermining its reputation by unnecessarily overturning judgments reached in credible national courts." - Guardian

  • The Prime Minister must stand up for Britain over human rights this week - Priti Patel MP for the Daily Mail
  • The European Court of Human Rights' corrosive effect on British justice was foreseen years ago – now we must fix it. - Dominic Raab MP for the Daily Telegraph
  • "Mr Cameron’s comments will place him and the Government on a collision course with Europe’s most senior judge. Sir Nicolas Bratza, the president of the court, attacked “senior British politicians” for aligning themselves with the popular press by criticising the court." - The Times (£)

£1,000,000,000,000 - British public sector debt hits a trillion for the first time - The Sun

  • Hallelujah! Archbishop blasts clerics who oppose welfare reform and declares REAL moral scandal is our £1trillion debt - Daily Mail
  • "For all the hand-wringing over the Coalition’s fiscal plans, the truth is that we have only begun to address this problem: public spending, while curtailed, is still grotesquely swollen." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on WATCH: Treasury minister David Gauke MP talks to BBC News after UK debt hits £1 trillion for first time ever

Cameron insists on limit to RBS bonus

"David Cameron has insisted that the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland should receive a bonus of no more than £1m this year – half of last year’s award – as the UK prime minister attempts to tighten his clamp down on executive pay." - FT (£)

> Yesterday: 

Commons Committee says it is shocking that military personnel are being subjected to compulsory redundancies while civil servants are not

CAMERONinAFGHANISTAN"MPs have damned as "grotesque" the way members of the armed forces are being subjected to compulsory redundancy while no civil servants at the Ministry of Defence have been asked to leave against their will." - Guardian

  • MoD spends £75million in three months on making civil servants redundant - Daily Mail
  • Scores of bureaucrats have pay slashed personally by Danny Alexander, saving £1 million - Daily Telegraph

Hague: Sanctions will 'push Iran towards talks' - Independent

Tory peer threatens to lead welfare revolt over Child Support Agency charging fees

Lords_Chamber"The revolt over the flagship welfare bill has spread to the Tory ranks ... Lord Mackay of Clashfern, lord chancellor under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, said he would oppose "unfair" proposals to charge single parents who used the agency a fee of up to 12% of any maintenance collected." - Guardian

  • "Under the government plan, single parents would be charged a fee of £100 (or £50 for those on benefits) to use the CSA to force their ex-partners to pay maintenance for their children." - Independent
  • Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Lord Mackay explains why he will challenge the Coalition in the Lords today
  • My fellow bishops are wrong. Fuelling the culture of welfare dependency is immoral - Lord Carey for the Daily Mail
  • "I will accept that someone very deeply disabled and needing huge care and equipment might be the exception but a general rule of £26,000 is staggeringly generous." - Ann Widdecombe for the Daily Express

Mayoral elections for English cities brought forward to November

"Elections for up to eleven new mayors in Britain’s biggest cities are to be fast-tracked to mid-November in an attempt to boost economic growth and local democracy. Greg Clark, the Cities Minister, will reveal the new timetable today, which begins on May 3 when the eleven cities hold mandatory referendums, asking voters if they want directly elected mayors." - The Times (£)

Ben Gummer MP: Issuing voters annual accounts of where their taxes end up would strengthen democracy

GUMMER BEN"The solution is simple: a tax statement, delivered every year, to everyone who pays direct taxes—that is, income tax and national insurance. This statement should show the tax paid in the last year and comparable payment in the current year. Crucially, these figures should be broken down into the main items of government expenditure so that taxpayers can see what they have contributed. An accompanying website should provide a ready calculator so that people's indirect taxes can also be estimated and a grand total of tax-take explained." - Ben Gummer MP in the Wall Street Journal (£)

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Ben Gummer MP wants every taxpayer to receive personalised statement of how their hard-earned money has been spent

David Davies MP: Wales will follow Scotland out of the United Kingdom

"The United Kingdom is like the Titanic and it is now "just a question of how long it takes to sink", a senior Conservative MP claimed yesterday. ... David Davies, chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee, suggested Wales was likely to follow Scotland down the path to independence. The UK is "holed below the waterline", he said. "It's just a question of how long it takes to sink."" - Independent

Louise Bagshawe 2011Louise Mensch MP: Conservative feminists like me are having an impact across the political spectrum. No wonder we're winning with women voters - Guardian

Chris Skidmore MP: The NHS is facing an enormous funding crisis. To avert it, we must be more innovative in integrating our health and social services - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Lord Owen backs Labour in opposition to NHS reforms

"Lord Owen, who left Labour in 1982 and founded the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the precursor to the Liberal Democrats, also talks about an early fall of the Government in a leaked e-mail sent to Labour peers." - The Times (£)

Iain Martin: Austerity imperils Alex Salmond's independence referendum

MARTIN IAIN"In a time of economic stability and prosperity perhaps they could be persuaded to grant Mr. Salmond his wish. But with Europe and the economy so troubled it is much less likely. Remaining part of a coherent state such as the U.K., with a common language, strong cultural bonds and a densely interwoven economy, will make sense to a great many Scots. Don't write off Britain just yet." - Iain Martin in the Wall Street Journal (£)

  • Labour turns on Alex Salmond over claims Scotland is a 'progressive beacon' - Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: Newt may not win, but he has winning ideas - The Times (£)

Foreign lorry drivers face charge of £10 a day to use roads - The Times (£)

And finally... Livid Mick Jagger snubs David Cameron after Tory "stitch-up"

"Sir Mick Jagger snubbed David Cameron last night after claiming he was a victim of Tory spin. The furious Stones legend, 68, ditched a planned meeting with the PM at a Tory business event, telling pals he felt “exploited”. Sir Mick was seething after learning how Downing Street had boasted of recruiting him to help promote Britain at the Great British Tea Party in the Swiss resort of Davos." - Daily Mirror


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here

24 Jan 2012 08:32:44

Newslinks for Tuesday 24th January 2012

7pm MPsETC: In a speech to the Holocaust Education Trust, Francis Maude says to learn from the Holocaust is to proactively fight bigotry

5pm Britain's one trillion pound debt leads our 5pm news round-up PLUS Andrew Lansley launches robust fightback

3pm Thomas Cawston on ThinkTankCentral: NHS reform is a necessity but the Coalition chose the wrong reforms

6a00d83451b31c69e20163000a1dcf970d-150wi2.30pm Alex Deane on Comment: In praise of the new Trade Union Reform Campaign

2.15pm WATCH:

1.30pm Local government: Windsor & Maidenhead cut Council Tax for third year in a row

CALLANAN MARTIN11.30am Parliament: In his his latest report from the European Parliament, Martin Callanan MEP finds EU high ups in denial after the S&P downgrade of France

11am ConHomeUSA: Romney takes Mitts off in video attack on Newt, but is dogged by his own tax affairs

ToryDiary: Is there a solution to the Coalition's NHS problem?

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Forget the Olympics. Forget Thames Estuary airport. Boris needs to focus on bread and butter stuff to win again.

Mark Field MP on Comment: Vince Cable needs to focus on ending the rewards for executive failure

Amber Rudd MP on Comment: Day one of the Council of Europe's meeting


MPsETC: Ben Gummer MP wants every taxpayer to receive personalised statement of how their hard-earned money has been spent

MPsETC: The Tory MPs who attacked Vince Cable yesterday should remember that they don't help capitalism when they become anti-government fundamentalists

Local government: Two more Tory councils snub offer of council tax freeze


Conservatives at highest level in ICM poll since March 2010 - Guardian

The Guardian interprets its poll: "A worsening economy and coalition austerity give Labour many opportunities. The reward for principled and realistic long-term thinking remain. But the polls are a reminder that, right now, the coalition is still making arguments that resonate better with many voters, even in the squeezed middle."

  • Labour lead back to 1% in YouGov/ Sun tracker survey.
  • Angus Reid has Labour 2% ahead.
  • Populus for The Times (£) has Labour 1% ahead but with more bad news for Ed Miliband: "The proportion of voters who say they “find it difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as Prime Minister” has risen from 63 per cent in September to 68 per cent now. Amongst Labour supporters, this has jumped from 49 per cent in September to 59 per cent now. Just 37 per cent say they disagree with this statement."

Screen shot 2012-01-24 at 08.24.13

Crude average of the four overnight polls puts the Conservatives on 37.75%, Lab on 37.5%, and the Liberal Democrats on 12%.

Screen shot 2012-01-24 at 06.02.42"An insult to every working family: Labour, bishops and Lib Dem peers derail plan to cap benefits" - Daily Mail | BBC

The Sun Says: "All we ever hear from the bishops is how unfair the Government is being to welfare claimants. Never a peep about how unfair it is to workers who slog all day to keep layabouts in beer and pizza."

  • Opponents of the cap on benefits fail to see that it will raise self-esteem and break the cycle of poverty - Gavin Poole of the Centre for Social Justice in The Guardian
  • "Limiting the hit on the taxpayer by capping benefits is one necessary thing. But the more difficult task will be to reverse decades of indifference to the poor dressed up as concern." - John Bird in The Times (£)
  • Tories welcome extended debate on benefits cap - James Forsyth at The Spectator
  • Labour’s reluctance to stand up for those in greatest need leaves it in no man’s land - Mary Riddell in The Spectator
  • Conservatives are slamming the door on the truly desperate - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Labour voters - and even The Independent - support IDS' benefits cap, leaving Miliband and the bishops looking isolated

The National Audit Office says there is “a significant risk” that ministers’ assumptions about the numbers who can be found jobs may be “over-optimistic” - FT (£)

Nearly 700,000 families will lose more than £1,000 a year under Government proposals to means-test child benefit - Express | Comment Central (£)

CableVince470Cameron and Osborne stop Cable from putting employees on remuneration committees - Independent

"The business secretary vowed to shake up boards and insisted that companies inject more diversity by hiring non-executives from a broader pool of academics, public servants or lawyers. Serving executives will also be prevented from sitting on other companies’ remuneration committees." - FT (£)

Tory backbenchers describe Vince Cable's pay reforms as "drivel" and "left-wing claptrap" - Independent

  • Who cares if Sir Fred Goodwin loses his knighthood? It's his huge taxpayer-funded pension that grates - Mark Field MP for The Telegraph

Commons Health Select Cttee says Lansley reforms were "complicating" efficiencies and were acting as a "disruption and distraction" - BBC

NHS reform should be dropped, before it's too late - Steve Richards in The Independent

Sylvester-RachelRachel Sylvester warns against the Coalition becoming a technocracy

"Andrew Lansley is like a conceptual artist who has become so obsessed by carving up the NHS and pickling it in formaldehyde that he has lost the ability to communicate the purpose of modernisation. Iain Duncan Smith is so busy reconstructing the welfare state that it is hard for him to convey his passion for helping the poor." - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

David Cameron's criticism of ECHR 'not based on facts', says Europe's most senior judge - Independent | Telegraph

  • Cameron needs to get over the veto and get Britain back at the table - Philip Stephens for the FT (£)

Boris Johnson lined up for safe Tory seat of Reigate ahead of 2015 general election - Guardian

Iran threatens the 'peace and security of us all', say Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy

"We will not accept Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. Iran has so far had no regard for its international obligations and is already exporting and threatening violence around its region." - Telegraph

  • "The decision yesterday by the European Union to ban imports of Iranian oil makes even more perilous a confrontation that could yet lead to war" - Independent leader

David Cameron has recruited Sir Mick Jagger to help him sell Britain to world leaders - The Sun

Screen shot 2012-01-24 at 06.03.23Caught with six kilos of cannabis and you could still avoid jail - Telegraph

"DRUG dealers caught with up to 100 hits of heroin could dodge jail under new guidelines. But explosive plans to let off dealers carrying up to a THOUSAND hits with a community sentence were ditched in a victory for The Sun." - Sun

"Offenders who play only a minor role in gangs may be spared jail if they are found supplying only small quantities of drugs, according to official guidelines issued today. Recreational users caught with small amount of drugs intended for social use with their friends are also likely to avoid being sent to prison. People found with cannabis which they are using for “medicinal” reasons will be treated more leniently under the guidelines issued for the Crown and Magistrates Courts." - Times (£)

Salmond Alex Oct 2011By 63% to 30% Scots say "the UK is stronger together", as against just 24% who believe England and Scotland "are proud nations in their own right", which could thrive on their own - Guardian

  • An independent Scotland can be a beacon for progressive opinion south of the border and further afield - Alex Salmond in The Guardian
  • "Salmond was last night embroiled in fresh allegations of “distorting the truth” in a row with a leading expert who clashed with the SNP over the independence referendum." - Scotsman

The Scotsman meets the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives: She may have Lady Gaga on her iPod and a Wii Fit beneath the telly but there’s something decidedly stale and politics-as-usual about Ruth Davidson

Blair signed 'secret deal' to hand over Gibraltar to Spain and end UK's 300-year control - Daily Mail

And finally... Cameron's daughter has entrepreneurial spirit

"David Cameron has revealed that his daughter Nancy is a budding entrepreneur who sold mince pies to his protection officers for £1 each. At the launch of a new business campaign, the Prime Minister told how his eldest daughter asked to make the pies on New Year's day and then flogged them to his detectives." - Daily Mail


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