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Newslinks for Sunday 25th March 2012

7.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: "These are very disturbing revelations... it's no way to run a government or a political party"

4.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: "I'll make sure there's a proper Party inquiry to make sure this can't happen again"

3.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron appoints Maude and Feldman to lead on urgent cross-party talks over political funding

Pledgebj

2.15pm ToryDiary: Boris signs the People's Pledge for an In/Out EU referendum

1.15pm ToryDiary: The Government's planning reforms look like another policy that will anger the Tory grassroots

10.30am ToryDiary: Cameron and and Osborne execute a V-turn on their opposition to a third Heathrow runway. Zac Goldsmith threatens to quit. What will Justine Greening do?

ToryDiary: Tory Treasurer resigns in donorgate row.  Cameron must act quickly and introduce strict new caps on donations to political parties

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: There is no evidence to back the Chancellor's repeal of Sunday trading laws. He should leave them alone.

Screen shot 2012-03-21 at 17.42.22Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: History is becoming a dead subject in schools. It must be brought back to life.

Also on Comment - Lord Ashcroft: The bravery of our "forgotten" VC hero must be remembered as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War

Richard Ashworth MEP on MPsETC: Don't pre-judge me, don't pigeon-hole me

Local government: Haringey Council's grip on local schools breaking up

WATCH: Conservative co-Treasurer Peter Cruddas accused of selling access to the Prime Minister

Peter Cruddas, Conservative co-Treasurer, resigns after being accused by the Sunday Times of selling access to the Prime Minister to £250,000 donors

  • "In a statement Mr Cruddas said... "[I]t was categorically not the case that I could offer, or that David Cameron would consider, any access as a result of a donation. Similarly, I have never knowingly even met anyone from the number ten policy unit. But in order to make that clear beyond doubt, I have regrettably decided to resign with immediate effect.”" - Sunday Telegraph
  • Screen Shot 2012-03-25 at 00.30.56"Cruddas told the financiers their cash would be the key to a secret world of soirees with Cameron at private venues which might include No 10 and even Chequers... They would be allowed to ask the prime minister “practically any question that you want”... and their views would be fed into the Downing Street policy machine... He added: “When we talk about your donations, the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron and Osborne dinners.” Asked what they needed to give, Cruddas said: “Minimum 100 grand a year.” He went on: “Hundred grand is not premier league. It’s not bad. It’s probably bottom of the premier league. Two hundred grand, 250 is premier league.”" - Sunday Times (£)
  • The Party denies any wrongdoing: "No donation was ever accepted or even formally considered by the Conservative Party. All donations to the Conservative Party have to comply with the requirements of electoral law. These are strictly enforced by our compliance department." - A statement from a Party spokesman via ITV

Sack the treasurer and clean up lobbying - Sunday Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Sunday Times says Tory donor invites donors to buy meetings with Prime Minister for £250,000

Ministers admit: we got it wrong on third runway at Heathrow

Screen shot 2012-03-25 at 08.34.08"[B]oth David Cameron and George Osborne have been convinced of the need to act – and re-examine long-term policy on Heathrow – after being lobbied by overseas leaders and business figures who warn that trade will move elsewhere in the EU unless the airport is expanded. While the coalition agreement rules out a third runway at Heathrow... many Tories now want the party to admit the decision was wrong and back the new runway in the manifesto for the next general election." - Observer

  • "Mr Cameron once insisted that protecting the environment and promoting the economy were not in conflict. Whatever happened to his brave vision of green growth?" - Independent on Sunday

Osborne's four-letter rant at Clegg over the "granny tax" backlash

"A furious George Osborne swore at Nick Clegg and blamed him for the Budget backlash over the "granny tax", it was revealed last night. The Chancellor exploded in anger at the Deputy Prime Minister in a heated confrontation, forcing David Cameron to intervene and act as peacemaker. At one point, Mr Osborne is said to have referred to the ‘f****** Lib Dems’." - Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: 

Iain Martin: After this Budget, George Osborne's reputation has taken a serious knock

MARTIN IAIN"The Chancellor’s reputation as master strategist and political genius, always wildly overdone at Westminster, has taken a knock. “His share price has peaked,” said a Tory MP. Others are also using the language of the market to describe the decline in his fortunes. A minister said some of his colleagues are “selling shares in George”." - Iain Martin for the Sunday Telegraph

Other Sunday columnists weigh in:

  • George Osborne is victimising those who represent the quintessence of Conservative values - Janet Daley
  • "Osborne has fixed the Conservatives as the party of the rich. The Tories were set to win a majority at the next election. Now they are not. The Budget was as disastrous as that." - John Rentoul
  • Forget granny tax, George knows that only jobs matter - James Forsyth
  • Everyone will suffer in this painful realignment of the relationship between the state and the citizen - Matthew d'Ancona
  • A gambler’s budget that may just work - Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • The Chancellor shows a lack of fellow feeling for the people who will pay most - Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • This disgraceful budget smacks of incompetence and cowardice - Will Hutton
  • It's not enough for Labour to call the Tories the party of the rich - Andrew Rawnsley

> From yesterday on Comment:

Ministers plan major immigration crackdown

May Theresa Home Office
"Theresa May... is planning a major immigration crackdown on tens of thousands of people who "abuse" family visas to settle in Britain, according to a leaked cabinet letter. The letter from Mrs May to Nick Clegg... proposes a tough new minimum income of £25,700 a year for anyone seeking to bring a spouse, partner or dependant to the UK from outside the European Union from June - almost double the current threshold of £13,700. The minimum income would rise dramatically - up to £62,600 - if children are also brought in." - Sunday Telegraph

  • Patient care "will suffer" under plans to throw out migrant nurses - Observer
  • Theresa May will not cut immigration by half, but her proposals ought to diminish it significantly - Sunday Telegraph editorial

We'll speed up the rate of change in schools, says Gove

"The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, gave a warning yesterday that the pace of his school reforms would accelerate despite claims from headteachers that they will provoke a "climate of fear" in classrooms. Mr Gove told the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in Birmingham: "Lest anyone think we should slacken the pace of reform, let me reassure them: we have to accelerate."" - Independent on Sunday

Ruth Davidson in "join me" plea to rival parties

Screen shot 2012-03-25 at 08.57.36"Ruth Davidson has called on her opponents to put their differences aside and join forces to campaign for the Union. She told her party's conference the Tories must come together with Labour and the Lib Dems, ahead of the forthcoming independence referendum. Ms Davidson said the SNP's Alex Salmond was neglecting Scotland's problems, in favour of ensuring a "Yes" vote." - BBC

  • "The reality is that the Scottish Conservatives are a fringe party with delusions of grandeur, of representing, as Davidson put it, the silent majority." - Scottish Herald

> From yesterday - WATCH: David Mundell MP: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson "will turn round our fortunes"

Soldiers stand by to drive petrol tankers as part of contingency plans to stop a strike plunging Britain into chaos

"Emergency plans for soldiers to drive petrol tankers to stop a threatened strike plunging Britain into chaos have been drawn up by the Government. The contingency plans are aimed at preventing a repeat of the turmoil caused by protesting lorry drivers when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. The results of a strike ballot of Britain’s 2,000 tanker drivers will be announced tomorrow – and both Ministers and well-placed sources in the drivers’ union Unite believe they will vote in favour of a walkout starting on April 3." - Mail on Sunday

Mrs Thatcher: I wish I'd never gone into politics

ThatcherNoTurningBack
"Baroness Thatcher told friends she would have never entered politics had she known the devastating impact it would have on her family, according to a new book. The former Tory prime minister confided in Sir Michael Spicer that she wouldn't go into politics because of "what it does to your family". ... Sir Michael recalls going to see Lady Thatcher at her "grand offices" off the King's Road... "She says she doesn't want to make a speech about Europe at all this year. Then as I get up to leave she says, "If I had my time again, I wouldn't go into politics because of what it does to your family."" - Independent on Sunday

  • The Spicer Diaries: "A Tory toff? My attitude is that you are what you are" - Sunday Telegraph

David Cameron accused of handing Alex Salmond a propaganda coup by giving Scotland an independent web address - Mail on Sunday

New row over abortion counselling - Sunday Telegraph

The Green Belt will be more tightly protected under new regulations

"Ministers will pledge that there will be no extra development on the protected land around towns and cities despite a radical relaxation of planning laws elsewhere. ... the document will contain reassurances about the green belt. There will be rules to prevent the abuse of the planning system by travellers, who often establish sites on the green belt that can take years to remove." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Ministers to unveil crackdown on illegal travellers' sites - Sunday Telegraph

Zac Goldsmith has praised Ed Miliband for his call to transform capitalism after the financial crisis - Sunday Times (£)

Chris Leslie becomes the 10th member of Ed Miliband’s opposition team to benefit from the financial support of PricewaterhouseCoopers - Sunday Telegraph

MI5 investigating after three attempted break-ins at Ed Miliband's office - Sunday Mirror

David Miliband: The Chancellor's "masochistic strategy" hurting economy

David Miliband"George Osborne is pursuing a "masochistic strangulation strategy" which is to blame for Britain's poor economic growth, David Miliband has said as he offered a strong endorsement of Labour's attack on the coalition's deficit reduction plan. In an appearance at the Guardian's Open Weekend, the former foreign secretary said the chancellor has joined forces with other centre-right European leaders to embrace a "pre-Keynesian economic theory"." - Observer

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Labour wouldn't reverse the 50p cut, and all parties agreed it was temporary: Tory MPs note Labour's opportunism

Britain has no aircraft carrier and new ones won’t be ready for years. Worse, ministers don’t even know what type of fighter will fly from them - Sunday Times (£)

Laziest members of House of Lords will be at front of queue for the chop under plans to move towards elected chamber - Observer

MPs' expenses receipts to stay secret, IPSA rules - Sunday Telegraph

Assisted dying policy put to Commons vote - Observer

Donate to charity with every visit to a cash machine under Big Society plan - Sunday Telegraph

Plans for Scottish rural parliament - BBC

"Voters have emphatically ended Labor's rule in Queensland, effectively reducing the trounced government to the status of minor party." - Sydney Morning Herald

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