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29 Feb 2012 08:40:34

Newslinks for Wednesday 29th February 2012

6.45pm WATCH: Chris Bryant MP says News Intl scandal is biggest case of corporate corruption since 1720

5.45pm ToryDiary: Now Clegg is linking boundary changes with elected House of Lords...

4.45pm Annesley Abercorn on Comment: Boris's new Routemaster is a statement of confidence in our national identity

INNOVATION UK copy3pm ToryDiary: We need competition between Britain's cities to get the economy growing again. Here's how...

2.30pm Local government: Livingstone channelled media appearance fees through company when Mayor

WATCH: Nick Clegg: Under Labour people lost their benefits if they did work experience

12.45pm Bill Cash MP on Comment looks forward to today's emergency debate on Fiscal Union: More Europe always leads to less prosperity and more disorder

Jackson stewart12.45pm ToryDiary: Dull PMQs rescued by Stewart Jackson MP's "curse of Clegg" phrase

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney wins Michigan and big in Arizona

11.30am Local government: Camden Conservatives propose 3% Council Tax cut

ToryDiary: Cameron has an opportunity to stop Alex Salmond charging English students attending Scottish universities. Will he take it?

Columnist Jill Kirby: Retrospective legislation may produce applause today but it will damage Britain in the years to come


Lord Lamont on Comment: A Lords elected by PR will give LibDems a huge, permanent, enhanced role in politics

Harry Benson on Comment: A wise woman should think long and hard before proposing to her man this leap day

Local government: Chesterfield abandons plans for Council Tax rise and Call for more cities for follow example of Boris Bikes


ConHomeUSA: Mitt Romney celebrates victory in Michigan by turning fire onto Obama

"Mr Cameron is no nearer to persuading us to be a Conservative country again"; Must-read of the day from Benedict Brogan looking at how Britain changed a great deal under Labour

"John Major may have imagined a country at ease with itself, but it was under Tony Blair that it changed socially to become more consciously tolerant – some would say modern – on issues of race, gender and sexuality. And there was more to it than that: the country was changed by Gordon Brown, too, who extended the grip of the state deep into the lives of citizens, vastly increasing dependence on state benefits, expanding the size of the public sector workforce, and creating a shadow state of organisations that aped private sector practice but relied exclusively or near enough on public contracts for their funding. Just as we became easier with each other, so too we became comfortable with Big Government." - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph

Government wants rewrite of ECHR to give more power to national parliaments

James Landale at the BBC writes: "The draft that I have seen says the European Court should not be able to examine cases that are "identical in substance to a claim that has been considered by a national court"... The government also calls for people to have much less time to apply to the European Court - just two, three or four months, not six months as now, after a national court makes its final judgement."

Theresa May plans to force skilled migrant workers to leave the UK after five years if they earn less than £35,000 a year

May Theresa in black"More than 40,000 skilled migrants a year are to lose their right to work beyond five years in Britain, in a move towards creating a temporary "guestworker" migrant labour force in the UK... Theresa May, will tell MPs on Wednesday that she is breaking the link between migration and settlement for the first time, by taking away the right to remain in Britain for more than five years from any migrant worker earning less than £35,000 a year." - Guardian

  • The Daily Mail attacks Theresa May's plan to extend secret courts

Former adviser to Andrew Lansley, Dr Sam Everington, and the host of his first speechas Health Secretary withdraws support from NHS Bill

"In a letter to David Cameron, Everington warns that "your rolling restructuring of the NHS compromises our ability to focus on what really counts" and that improvements to NHS primary care could be made "without the bureaucracy generated by the bill." - Guardian | Telegraph

  • Andrew Lansley insists that the Coalition is united - Independent
  • My fellow doctors are putting greed before their patients, Dr Robert Lefever in the Daily Mail reacts to BMA threat of industrial action over pensions

Not only is the Coalition's retrospective action against Barclays unjust; it should be anathema to a state that wants to create a predictable environment for business 


Cable, Pickles and Spelman all criticised in Cabinet meeting for not doing more to support economic growth - FT (£)

  • Creating a dynamic economy in Northern Ireland: Promoting enterprise, reforming welfare - Owen Paterson in the Daily Mail
  • The Express joins the calls for lower fuel duty: "The RAC Foundation said in 21 million households people spend more than 10 per cent of their disposable income on transport – the measure used to define fuel poverty on energy bills"
  • Don't expect an exciting Budget, predicts Nick Wood - neither the Thatcherites nor the Lib Dems will get what they want - Daily Mail

Downing Street said to be underwhelmed by Boris Johnson's re-election plan

Johnson Boris Pointing"Downing Street is worried. When the mayor came in with his Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby last week, they thought their plans were “underwhelming” and lacked a simple “retail offer” for voters. Boris might irritate the Prime Minister but the Conservatives need him to stay in City Hall. They are even prepared to consider Boris Island, his plan for a new airport, if it helps his cause." - Alice Thomson in The Times (£)

Ann Widdecombe wants nationwide referendum on gay marriage: "As this is the most fundamental change to society in centuries, let David Cameron ask the people what they want. If he insists on pushing ahead then I challenge him to hold a referendum. The redefinition of marriage is too big an issue for the state to foist on an unwilling population." - Express

> Miss Widdecombe recently noted that she quit politics when 'I noticed I preferred Countdown to Question Time'

A preview of the issues likely to dominate today's emergency debate on the EU Treaty - John Redwood

> Yesterday's MPsETC: Could Irish voters say FU to the Merkozy plan to save the €uro?

Number 10 silent on whether David Cameron used Rebekah Brooks' police horse - Telegraph

Phone-hacking will be the single largest corporate corruption case for 250 years because 'cover up' went up 'to the very highest levels, says Chris Bryant - Daily Mail

The Sun launches a campaign to expose welfare fraudsters

Screen Shot 2012-02-29 at 07.45.35"An average earner on £25,500 a year pays £2,080 towards the benefits bill through income tax. So he or she is being robbed of £16.64 by benefits cheats. Of the fortune stolen from the State in the last year, £150million was dole money, £220million Income Support, £140million pension credit, £300million housing benefits and £80million sick benefit and Disability Living Allowance." - The Sun

Alex Fergusson, a senior MSP, and Peter Duncan, a former Scottish Tory chairman, gave their backing to ‘Devo Plus’, which could see Scottish ministers given control over nearly all taxes except VAT and National Insurance - Telegraph

  • The Scotsman has a full report on the launch of the campaign for Devo+
  • Philip Blond calls for Scottish Parliament to have its own House of Lords - Scotsman
  • Lord Steel of Aikenwood said broadcasters have told him that “SNP heavies” contact them so regularly trying to influence their coverage that it is verging on “intimidation” - Telegraph

The People’s Supermarket, a Big Society project, visited by David Cameron on the day he told the nation that the policy was his mission, is at risk of “imminent closure” - Times (£)

Tebbit criticises Meryl Streep for not mentioning Margaret Thatcher in Oscars speech - Sun

Multi-millionaire Chris Huhne has claimed £17,000 severance pay from taxpayer - Guardian

Screen Shot 2012-02-29 at 07.47.42"Chris Huhne will pocket a taxpayer-funded payoff worth more than £17,000 today – despite being the first Cabinet minister in history to be forced from office by a criminal prosecution. The millionaire MP, who recently bought his eighth property, is being handed the tax-free sum after stepping down to fight charges of perverting the course of justice." - Daily Mail

Labour will support 80% elected Lords but may not endorse use of parliament acts to force through change - Independent

Union that bankrolls Labour calls for disruption of Olympics - BBC

> Yesterday evening's LeftWatch: The union that bankrolls Labour wants to disrupt the London Olympics

Chuka Umunna says we don't need to abolish the Business Department but to put it at the heart of Whitehall - Press Association

French Socialist Francois Hollande will meet Ed Miliband today; the conservative leaders of Britain, Germany and Italy have declined to meet him - Reuters

Want to be happy? Get married, retire, have a family and move to Northern Ireland: Survey finds the most satisfied people in the country - Daily Mail

And finally... Puffed-out Cameron struggles on his morning jog... while his security staff and trainer barely break a sweat - 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.

28 Feb 2012 08:26:34

Newslinks for Tuesday 28th February 2012

7.30pm LeftWatch: The union that bankrolls Labour wants to disrupt the London Olympics

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 17.52.386pm WATCH: Nadine Dorries MP says only childless and wealthy women tend to prosper in politics

4.30pm MPsETC: Could Irish voters say FU to the Merkozy plan to save the €uro?

4pm Local government:

3.15pm Oliver Colvile MP on Comment: The critics of windfarms are wrong. Renewable energy provides good value for money.

2.30pm Local government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh says Government plans for Business Rates too complicated and unclear to work

Noon George Eustice MP on Comment says it's time to transform CAP: "The Common Agricultural Policy takes up 40 percent of the EU budget and has long been regarded by the public as a symbol of bureaucracy gone mad."

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney pivots from social message, back to economy

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 11.07.5111.15am WATCH:

10am: Robert Halfon MP on Comment: Taxpayers should be allowed to tour Big Ben for free

ToryDiary: Owen Paterson wants Belfast to have the same low corporation tax as Dublin

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: Who will frame the political debate in favour of the wealth creators?

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 08.03.26

Michael Dobbs on Comment: The Lords is currently a great advisory chamber but elect us and we'll become a very different beast

Ryan Bourne on ThinkTankCentral: The CPS share scheme idea is still the least bad alternative, as taxpayers, for disposing of our stake in RBS

MPsETC: Bercow corrects Michael Gove's "Cymryphobia" as "welshed" joins the list of unparliamentary language

Local government: 306 councils agree to freeze or cut Council Tax

Local government update: Number of Tory councils upping council tax increases to FIFTEEN

George Osborne rushes through retrospective legislation to stop Barclays avoiding £500 million of tax - Guardian

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 07.43.14"The Treasury moved after a lender, which The Times understands to be Barclays, used legal loopholes to reduce its tax bill. The Government did not name the company involved but said that it was taking action to ensure the payment of more than half a billion pounds of tax, with billions of pounds of future revenue also protected. One of the tax schemes involved the bank buying back its own debt and making a profit on the transaction while not paying corporation tax. The other involved investment funds trying to benefit from tax credits." - Times (£)

  • "The untold story is that large firms are in the aggregate paying far more tax than ever. We are in danger of forgetting just how much we need them" - Allister Heath in City AM

Tory MPs' fury as Nick Clegg goes public with his concerns about NHS Bill

  • "Tory MP Priti Patel said: “It’s disgraceful. He should be working alongside his Cabinet colleagues in order to improve the NHS.” Another Tory said: “It is extraordinary for a Cabinet minister to agree a bill and vote for it and then call for it to be changed. He should either support Government policy or resign.” - Express
  • "Tory MP Philip Davies said: "Once again, we are caving in to Nick Clegg's petulant tantrums. The Prime Minister would do well to remember he is in coalition with Conservatives as well."" - Sun

Downing Street in knots as it plays down Nick Clegg's NHS concessions - Nick Watt for The Guardian

"There is at first sight something rather puzzling about the deputy prime minister writing a letter calling for his own government's legislation to be amended..." - Nick Robinson

Telegraph leader: "In campaigning against change, the opponents of competition have no convincing alternative. They are simply making the health service’s problems that much harder to address."

Foreigners are to be offered free treatment for HIV on the NHS for the first time under controversial plans backed by ministers - Telegraph

Clegg in feisty form at hearing on Lords reform

Clegg Nick July 2011"Nick Clegg tried to isolate opponents of Lords reforms on Monday by claiming that protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo would not understand how Britain in the 21st century still had an unelected legislature. He also sent out a briefing to his party pointing out that only 15 countries predominantly use appointments for selecting its upper house "putting Britain in the same league as Jordan, Belize and Burkina Faso." - Guardian

There should be no Lords reform until question of Scottish independence has been addressed - Jesse Norman MP in The Times (£)

At least 50 Tory MPs are expected to rebel against an elected Lords - Times (£)

The Independent says Nick Clegg must be supported in his chance-in-a-generation attempt to modernise the Lords but the FT's leader-writers warn that Clegg hasn't answered fundamental questions about how Lords/Commons relationship will be affected by election.

> Yesterday's ConHome features on Lords reform:

Screen Shot 2012-02-28 at 07.55.43Radical MPs urge George Osborne to shut Whitehall departments, slash red tape and cut business tax - Telegraph

  • David Ruffley MP suggests closing Vince Cable's BIS Department, saving £1 billion, and possibly the Culture Department too - Daily Mail 
  • "Kwasi Kwarteng, a member of the transport committee, urged ministers to put tolls on the five biggest motorways while increasing compensation for residents affected by big transport schemes to help push big infrastructure projects through." - FT (£)
  • Sajid Javid, Osborne's PPS, questions whether Lib Dems will match Tory deficit target at next election - Spectator
  • "Public spending last year accounted for nearly half of the British economy: 49.8 per cent of GDP. In the previous two years it was just over half. Mr Osborne’s total planned cuts amount to reducing spending by just 5.3 per cent over six years. Far from taking an axe, Mr Osborne has barely begun to prune the public sector." - Stephen Pollard in The Express

Opinion poll sends conflicting Budget messages

A ComRes poll simultaneously says public want tax cuts for low income workers, want tax cuts targeted on business, not individuals and doesn't want tax cuts at all but more deficit reduction!

  • By 60% to 34% voters back higher wealth taxes to cut income taxes - Independent

The Centre for Economics and Business Research says CUTTING fuel duty would RAISE cash for the Government

"Its report is a direct challenge to Chancellor George Osborne, who has indicated he will end his fuel duty freeze in the coming Budget. It comes as a Sun poll revealed fuel tax is the one most people want to see cut." - The Sun

  • British motorists are shouldering the heaviest tax burden in the EU at the pumps - Daily Mail

Cameron is taking power back to Number 10 as he attempts to oversee and craft a government-wide mission - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

Welsh Conservatives replace annual conference with election rally - BBC

"Devo-plus" campaign launched to ensure a "no-to-independence" vote in Scottish referendum leads to more devolution - Scotsman

> "Devo-plus" was the fifth part of ConservativeHome's Majority Manifesto


Gordon Brown faces growing calls to be part of a “dream team” leading the anti-independence campaign in the run-up to the referendum - Scotsman

Nick Clegg remains loyal to the Coalition but Lib Dem activists are pulling away - Mary Riddell in The Telegraph

Austin Mitchell MP: The Lib Dems are helping the Tories to entrench power

"First, the reduction of the Commons to 600 required a total redistribution. That will cost Labour more seats than the Tories (and incidentally the Lib Dems proportionately more than either). Second, Wales and Scotland, fiefdoms of the left, lost more seats than England. Next individual enrolment will disenfranchise sections of the population likely to vote Labour. The final stage is Scottish devolution. Whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum, home rule or devo max, it will entail either a reduction in Scottish representation at Westminster or a restriction of the ability of Scottish MPs to vote on "English" issues." - Austin Mitchell MP, letter to The Guardian

Grammar schools are better for able pupils than comprehensives - John Redwood

Middle-class liberals should try a spell of unemployment before they criticise workfare - John Bird in The Times (£)


> 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.

27 Feb 2012 08:30:59

Newslinks for Monday 27th February 2012

7.15pm WATCH

5pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: Compassionate Conservatism is at the core of work experience programs - and Tesco's customers get it

4.30pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove rules out leadership bid, concluding he doesn't have "right sort of character" for the job

Mark Harper3pm ToryDiary: Tim Montgomerie speaks to the Conservative Minister responsible for Upper House reform: The public want an elected Lords and this Coalition will deliver it, insists Mark Harper

1pm WATCH: Rudd after Gillard victory - "I accept the caucus's verdict without rancour"…I bear no grudges"…"I congratulate Julia"…"I bear no-one any malice..."

11.30am Local Government: Roll of shame - The dozen Tory councils planning tax hikes

11am ToryDiary: 72% of Tory members agree that "the Lords often does a better job at scrutinising legislation than MPs and it should be left as it is"

10am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney back in the lead

Screen shot 2012-02-27 at 07.58.24
ConservativeHome opens a week probing the Government's plans for Lords Reform. ToryDiary: Nick Clegg may leave the Coalition if he doesn't get an elected Lords

Penny Mordaunt MP begins our comment series: Reform of the Lords is not a Coalition breaker... it’s much more important than that!

Columnist Bruce Anderson: We seem to be heading for Offbig and Offsoc: the Health and Safety version of the Big Society

Local Government: Councils will be forced to publish figures on adoption breakdown

LeftWatch: The Left's next target is Michael Gove

WATCH: Meryl Streep wins the Oscar as best actress for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady 

Osborne says: We have run out of money...

Osborne-Headshot"In a stark warning ahead of next month’s Budget, the Chancellor said there was little the Coalition could do to stimulate the economy. Mr Osborne made it clear that due to the parlous state of the public finances the best hope for economic growth was to encourage businesses to flourish and hire more workers. “The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years,” the Chancellor said. “The money and the investment and the jobs need to come from the private sector.” - Daily Telegraph 

...As he rules out a budget fuel duty cut

"The price of diesel soared to a record £1.50 a litre yesterday as Chancellor George Osborne made clear he cannot afford fuel duty cuts in next month’s Budget…Mr Osborne said yesterday he had already taken expensive steps to ease the pain of rising petrol and diesel prices. ‘We’ve taken action in the last two fiscal statements either to avoid a fuel duty increase that was coming or to cut fuel duty,’ he added." - Daily Mail 

"The economy is bouncing back"

Screen shot 2012-02-27 at 05.28.47"Britain has escaped a return to recession and is bouncing back towards prosperity, key economic data will show this week. Figures for manufacturing, construction and retail are set to reveal growth at last after months in the doldrums. City chiefs believe the economy is expanding at a rate equivalent to 0.8per cent a year after shrinking in the final months of 2011.  The triple blast of upbeat news will cheer Treasury officials, who were boosted last week by figures showing the drive to cut Britain’s record debt is ahead of schedule." - Daily Express

> Yesterday:

LibDem Noises Off 1) Yellow peers urge NHS Bill rewrite...

"Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords are launching a new attempt to rewrite the government's controversial plans for the NHS in England. The peers have drawn up amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill, which returns to the Lords for debate later. They want to scrap plans to allow the Competition Commission to review the development of competition in the NHS. One source told the BBC that ministers were not minded to accept the requests for changes to the bill." - BBC 

...As Lansley faces more opposition

"Andrew Lansley faces the prospect of losing the co-operation of another influential group of doctors today amid more calls for his controversial health reforms to be ditched. The Royal College of Physicians will hold a highly unusual emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the troubled Health Bill. It could ultimately see the body joining the chorus of critics calling for the legislation to be dropped altogether." - The Times (£)

  • Former NHS chief executive attacks "confused" health reforms - The Guardian
  • Yes, the NHS must change. But not this way - Ed Miliband, The Times (£)
  • NHS bill: Lib Dem peers urge rewrite - BBC

LibDem Noises Off 2) Minister letter criticising work programme finds its way into the Guardian

Screen shot 2012-02-27 at 08.27.32"A funding crisis has developed in the government's main welfare-to-work initiative which demands an urgent review of its organisation and supply chain, the defence minister Nick Harvey has written in a leaked letter to the employment minister Chris Grayling. The letter reveals ministerial unease about whether the flagship work programme has been structured properly for a deteriorating labour market." - The Guardian

  • Ex-M&S chief tells firms to defy militants on work experience scheme - Daily Mail
  • Labour pushes for cabinet disclosure on A4e - Financial Times (£)
  • The loony Left, out to destroy youngsters' hopes of a job - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • Jobs, welfare and how the BBC went into battle for the Socialist Workers - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - It's time for business to fight for the right to work!

LibDem Noises Off 3) David Cameron wants nothing less than Tory hegemony - Chris Rennard, The Guardian

Ministers fight development plans in own backyard

"At least half the cabinet have opposed developments in their own constituencies of the kind which will now be more likely to go ahead under imminent changes to the planning system, according to research by the Financial Times. Cabinet ministers who have fought housing developments and other schemes in their own constituencies include George Osborne, Andrew Lansley, Vince Cable, Francis Maude and Ed Davey." - Financial Times (£)

Mugabe's birthday party speech: "To hell with you, David Cameron, gay rights are insanity" - Daily Mail 

Senior Tories "plotted to scrap child poverty measure"

Letwin Cabinet Office"Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister, and Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s chief policy guru, called for Britain’s official child poverty measure to be scrapped amid signs that it would produce a string of bad headlines for the Government….However, the plan was met by fierce resistance from Nick Clegg and Sarah Teather, the Child Poverty Minister, who said that any attempt to stop publishing information on the number of children living in relative poverty would be seen as a cynical attempt to “fiddle the figures”." - The Times (£)

  • Education secretary gives English Heritage £2.7m in programme to revamp the history curriculum - The Guardian
  • Latest Guardian attack on Gove over Murdoch links - The Guardian

New group claims equality rights leave out Christians - The Independent

"Elected Mayors will be champions for the cities"

"Think what an effect a group of experienced, pragmatic mayors with powers might have, not just in mitigating austerity policies in their cities but in growing local economies and rebuilding political credibility more generally.Directly elected mayors are not the answer to every question in every city, but they are a clear and present answer to a lot of them. They are an opportunity for civic, economic and political rebuilding that it would be reckless to spurn." - Guardian Editorial

Did letter by 100 Conservative MPs help to alarm wind companies? - The Guardian

Families to lose homes under new defence cuts - The Times (£)

Prescott to appear before Leveson inquiry - BBC

Gillard crushes Rudd by 73 votes to 31 - The Guardian

And finally...Meryl Streep wins an Oscar for her performance as Margaret Thatcher

"The 62-year-old, who has been nominated 17 times, bagged the Best Actress gong for her portrayal of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. And she said she felt the country groaning as Mamma Mia! co-star Colin Firth announced the win.  She said: "When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America saying 'oh no. Why her? Not again.' Oh well, whatever." - The Sun


> 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 Feb 2012 09:11:12

Newslinks for Sunday 26th February 2012

5.30pm WATCH: Fears grow that Lib Dems will veto boundary changes if Tories veto elected House of Lords

2.45pm Nicholas Rogers on Comment: Trust, direction, integrity - what we will need from elected Police Commissioners

Noon WATCH: Liam Fox: "There is the perception that Lib Dems are far more free to voice what they want"

Osborne Murnaghan11.15am ToryDiary: George Osborne says he is willing to give more money to the IMF - if €urozone members contribute

ToryDiary: It's time for business to fight for the right to work!

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: We need tighter regulation of abortion

Mark Lancaster MP on Comment: The Government needs to overhaul adoption.  For some families, one more chance is a chance too many.

MPsETC: Stewart Jackson MP's review of the parliamentary week

Local Government: 

WATCH: Russia opposition supporters rally against Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg

Cameron meeting with MPs dominated by an "absolute determination to govern alone"

Cameron Libya"Cameron told his colleagues they were in a ‘full-time campaign’ to win over the public. One of those present says that the meeting was marked by an ‘absolute determination to govern alone’ after 2015. The focus was on which voters the party needs to win over to get a majority and how it can do that. Even those in the Cameron circle who once flirted with the idea of an electoral alliance with the Liberal Democrats are now keen to be free of the constraints of coalition." - James Forsyth for the Mail on Sunday

  • Cameron in stitches at 'Don't be beastly to Liberals' spoof - Mail on Sunday

40 Tory MPs sign letter supporting Lansley's NHS reforms

LANSLEY ANDREW NEW"SIR – As members of the recently formed 301 group of Conservative MPs, we support the principles of the Health and Social Care Bill, which shows a commitment by the Coalition to deliver better NHS services and improve patient care." - signed by 40 Tory MPs including Nick Boles, Matt Hancock and Priti Patel - Sunday Telegraph

  • Sunday Telegraph editorial endorses reforms, but says "No one is better placed than Mr Lansley to pilot his reforms through Parliament. But once the Bill has become law, it may be time for the Prime Minister to consider replacing him with someone who is better able to convince the public of the wisdom of the changes."

But Andrew Rawnsley reports "serious" Cabinet concerns about health reforms

"There is mounting and serious alarm in the highest reaches of the cabinet about the trouble they have got into over health. There is continuing, almost complete and unanimous confidence that they are moving in the right direction on welfare and work. For there is one crucial difference between the two. On health, they have lost public opinion even before the plan is implemented." - Andrew Rawnsley for the Observer

  • Doctors to vote on industrial action in protest at changes to pensions - Independent on Sunday
  • Three key royal colleges prepare to pull the plug on David Cameron's NHS Bill - Sunday Mirror
  • Labour urges Liberal Democrat peers to halt NHS bill - BBC
  • Critic of Health Bill claims Lansley 'smear' - Independent on Sunday
  • Ed Miliband writes for the Sunday Mirror on disastrous NHS reforms - Sunday Mirror

George Osborne blocks new council tax on the rich

Osborne NewX"Calls for new council tax bands for the most valuable properties are expected to be rejected by the Treasury. Ministers believe it would be too expensive and complicated to devise a scheme to force owners of the most expensive homes to pay more. The move would also involve reneging on a Tory general election pledge not to revalue properties for council tax. ... George Osborne, the chancellor, is thought to have ruled out introducing a so-called “mansion tax” on properties worth more than £2m." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "Nick Clegg is targeting Tory voters for higher property taxes - but why are David Cameron and George Osborne pandering to him?" - Iain Martin for the Sunday Telegraph
  • Top 1% of earners pay 30% of tax - Sunday Times (£)

Tory Free Enterprise Group urges more spending cuts and new tax cuts - and plans new book on Britain's competitiveness

"The group, which will hold a summit on growth with the Institute of Economic Affairs, wants Osborne to re-examine spending decisions across government departments. The welfare budget and red tape are likely to be prime targets. It is also expected that Andrew Tyrie, Tory chairman of the Treasury select committee, will use the meeting to renew his criticism that Osborne lacks a coherent long-term strategy to stimulate growth." - Observer

  • "Key members of the Free Enterprise Group are writing a book, to be published on the eve of Tory conference, calling for Britain to reassert its place in the world. Called Britannia Unchained, it is a follow-up to After the Coalition, a provocative manifesto for a Tory-majority government after the 2015 election." - Independent on Sunday

Iain Duncan Smith blames "anarchists" for row over Government workfare scheme


"Duncan Smith dismissed the protests as the “militant actions of a small bunch of anarchists” and insisted the government would press ahead. “The critics of the work experience programme represent a minority of people who think rights come before responsibilities. This cannot be allowed to harm the prospects of the overwhelming number of decent young people who are desperate for work experience to give them a chance at securing jobs and to gain their financial freedom,” said Duncan Smith." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Tories order police to halt workfare demos as Priti Patel makes formal protest to BBC over bias in favour of hard-left militants - Mail on Sunday
  • Chris Grayling's workfare scheme deserves support from business - Matthew d'Ancona for the Sunday Telegraph
  • The Government should stand up to the rent-a-mob campaign against unpaid work experience - Janet Daley
  • "The identities of hard-left militants orchestrating a campaign to undermine a Government scheme providing youngsters with work experience can be exposed today." - Sunday Telegraph

Tory backbenchers are ready to rebel against Lords reform

"In a move that could plunge the coalition into crisis, Conservative MPs opposed to elected peers have begun gathering names for a rebellion. ... A Tory backbencher involved in the plans for a revolt said: “There is huge strength of feeling on this among Tory MPs. It would be a constitutional outrage to use the Parliament Act to force it through.”" - Sunday Times (£)

  • "At least 20 Lib Dem peers are to join forces with rebel Conservatives and vote against Mr Clegg's plans for an elected chamber." - Sunday Telegraph

"He just went for me and head-butted me on the nose" - Stuart Andrew MP talks about his encounter with Labour's Eric Joyce

Andrew Stuart Parliament"Tory Stuart Andrew says Eric Joyce was seized by a policeman after grabbing his tie and pushing him against a wall, but persuaded the constable to let him go, saying: 'You can't do that, I'm an MP.' It was then that former soldier Mr Joyce head-butted Mr Andrew, according to the injured MP. 'The police held him but let him go for a minute. He just went for me and head-butted me on the nose. My nose was bleeding heavily. I kept holding it and grabbed a tissue from somewhere.'" - Mail on Sunday

Two Sunday columnists, John Rentoul and new Sun on Sunday writer Toby Young, back Michael Gove to become Prime Minister

  • GOVE MICHAEL NW"He has a confidence and an ideological clarity that make him formidable. That ideology is the purest essence of Blairism, which might not be obviously popular but which has the advantage of being right." - John Rentoul for the Independent on Sunday
  • "In a rash moment, I bet Nigella Lawson a large sum of money in 2003 that Boris would be leader of the Conservative Party within 15 years. That bet's looking safer now. However, in a three-way contest between Boris, Osborne and Gove, my money would be on Gove." - Toby Young for the Sun on Sunday

Dominic Raab MP to introduce legislation stopping tyrants entering Britain

Raab Dom"If the government has evidence that a state official is responsible for torture, extrajudicial killing or some other grotesque human rights abuse — or is complicit in covering it up — he or she will be banned from receiving a US visa, their assets in America will be frozen and their names will be published... This week... I will be applying for a debate in the Commons to vote in favour of an equivalent British law." - Dominic Raab MP for the Sunday Times (£)

  • "The operation to monitor the extremist cleric Abu Qatada is costing the taxpayer £100,000 a week — 100 times the cost of keeping him in his former high-security prison cell." - Sunday Times (£)

Harriet Harman's law on equality "is anti-Christian" and unacceptable - Mail on Sunday

Charles Clarke interview: "I could have done better than Gordon Brown" - Sunday Telegraph

  • "Accusing Ed Miliband of failing to present a coherent vision, Mr Clarke warns the party: "We need to have a clear narrative of what we did right and what we did wrong. We're not remotely near that."" - Sunday Telegraph

Scottish independence referendum date will be October 18, 2014 - Sun on Sunday

Black Watch and other historic regiments at risk due to Army cuts

CAMERONinAFGHANISTAN"Apart from the Black Watch and Green Howards, the Highlanders in Scotland and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in northern England are at risk... The Scots Guards and the Coldstream Guards, the army’s oldest regiment, have also lacked recruits, which could jeopardise their futures or lead to amalgamation." - Sunday Times (£)

Ken Livingstone uses loophole to save £50,000 in tax - Sunday Telegraph

British staff withdrawn from Afghan government after shootings in interior ministry - Sunday Telegraph

German cabinet minister calls for Greek euro exit - Sunday Telegraph

Plan to charge for Big Ben tours sparks ding-dong with MPs - Independent on Sunday

Syria votes on new constitution referendum amid unrest - BBC


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