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Newslinks for Tuesday 6th March 2012

6.45pm WATCH: Mark Pritchard MP on his resignation - "People are saying to me: What is the difference between the last Government and this Government? And on immigration and Europe and some other issues you struggle to answer those questions."

3.30pm Peter Cannon on Comment: Why we still need Trident

Screen shot 2012-03-06 at 15.19.331.45pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: "I say again: surely the right thing to do is to do what we believe to be right as Conservatives and then submit our actions to the judgement of the voters, confident that if we have indeed been Conservatives that should usually be enough." In a healthy democracy policy parties do not exist to hold power

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Close Ohio contest holds the key to Super Tuesday victory for Romney or Santorum

11.30am Conservative Friends of International Development on Comment: We can be proud of Britain’s role in leading the international fight against extreme poverty

10.30am Local Government: Shadow Schools Minister opposes Newcastle free school

10am Nick Pickles on Comment: Ministers cannot be allowed to decide what evidence is heard in court

ToryDiary: David Cameron is 16 points more popular than his party

Majority Conservatism: Rather than stage the debates during the few weeks before polling day, they could be held over three months

Columnist Stephan Shakespeare: If voters see America growing strongly again, it could undermine the Coalition's austerity plan

Stephen Tall on Comment: Advice from a Liberal Democrat about how the Conservatives could win

CutsGift
Ruth Porter on ThinkTankCentral continues a week long ConservativeHome focus on how George Osborne can deliver further reductions in the size of the state: Close DCMS, freeze benefits and pensions, scrap the regional growth fund... how to save up to £35 billion

Local government: 

WATCH: Ken Clarke pays tribute to Norman St John Stevas, "an intelligent, sensitive man, he was a very, very good minister"

David Cameron: Britain to seek UN resolution on Syria

Cameron&Hague"The Prime Minister said Britain was playing a leading role and had already provided an extra £2 million to aid agencies operating on the ground to help deliver emergency medical supplies and food rations for 20,000 people. He added that Britain would this week, continue to secure a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to the violence and immediate humanitarian access." - Daily Telegraph

No 10 and Treasury divided over child benefit cuts

Osborne Large"Osborne is making clear in Whitehall that his proposal is a popular way of showing that all income earners will share in the pain of deficit reduction. The chancellor is also saying that the public finances are so tight it would be difficult to fund a watering down of the change... Cameron, nervous about unsettling Middle Britain, is keen to deal with the "cliff edge" problem of removing child benefit the moment at least one parent's income reaches the 40% tax threshold" - Guardian

"MPs reject Chancellor's compromise on policy and say they will join Labour to oppose change" - Independent

  • The Chancellor had hoped to woo Tories by declaring the success of his economic plan allowed him to abandon child benefit withdrawal - Nicholas Watt
  • Nick Clegg says changes needed to avoid 'unintended consequences' - Daily Telegraph
  • Tories will rue their child-benefit bungle - Andrew Gimson (£)
  • Universal benefits waste public money by subsidising those who already have enough - Steve Richards
  • Political debate has shifted to the left because the other side hasn't made sense - Kwasi Kwarteng

No 10 and No 11 also divided over wealth taxes

"The Chancellor is said to be keen to find a way of raising revenue by taxing assets — possibly by introducing new, higher council tax bands on multimillion-pound properties. The Prime Minister has what one friend calls a “deep-seated scepticism and nervousness about new-fangled schemes to raise money from the better-off”." - Rachel Sylvester for the Times (£)

  • "The millions of folk who make up the UK’s aspiring, entrepreneurial, business and professional classes are the bedrock of Britain’s prosperity – so why does nobody in government stand up for them any more? Are the Tories asleep?" - Allister Heath

> From yesterday - Tim Knox on Comment: A mansion tax is unfair, unconservative and wouldn't raise much money

Ministers promise new NHS concessions

Lansley-Big-Ben"The government is to introduce further concessions on its controversial health bill for England, in an effort to assuage Liberal Democrat concerns. It is promising "further safeguards" over the use of the private sector and the role of the NHS regulator, Monitor." - BBC

  • "The publication of documents outlining the risks relating to the government's health changes could lead to a "distorted and wildly speculative interpretation of risk", according to the permanent secretary of the Department of Health." - Guardian
  • "NHS hospitals wanting to take on large numbers of private patients will have to put their plans to a vote as part of further Government concessions over the Health Bill." - The Times (£)

Mark Pritchard resigns as Deputy Chairman of the Party and won't seek re-election to the 1922 Committee

  • PRITCHARD"Mark Pritchard, a senior Tory MP, has resigned from a party position in response to his concern over an “increasing number” of government policies, particularly over Europe and immigration. The rightwinger quit on Monday as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party International Office, which promotes democracy in developing countries, saying he wanted to be able to “speak out more freely” on government policy." - FT (£)
  • "When the 301 group of leadership loyalist backbenchers was founded, Pritchard was quickly identified as someone they would try and defeat in the coming ’22 elections. His decision not to run again is seen by Tory MPs as evidence of the perceived voting strength of this group." - James Forsyth

Ken Clarke blunders, accusing Jordan of torture as Theresa May travels there for Qatada negotiations

Clarke ken_small.ashx"Just as Mrs May was holding delicate negotiations Mr Clarke threatened to torpedo them by declaring in an interview: "Obviously there is a problem with torture in that country." The gaffe-prone Justice Secretary added: "That's a long-standing principle of human rights law — you can't have a system of justice with torture involved."" - The Sun

Plans to extend 'secret justice' are too broad and should be amended, admits Ken Clarke

"Highly controversial plans to extend ‘secret justice’ are too broad and should be amended so that only a ‘tiny number’ of cases will be included, Kenneth Clarke concedes today. As it stands, draft legislation would allow ministers to order that civil court cases or inquests must be held in private if they have the potential to ‘damage the public interest’. But the Justice Secretary... insists the Government has heard criticism ‘loud and clear’." Daily Mail

  • We hear your fears over open justice loud and clear - Ken Clarke for the Daily Mail
  • "Ministers have been warned by their own officials that plans for extending “closed” or secret trials could cost millions — and endanger rather than protect national security." - The Times (£)
  • Companies will get £6,000 if they find jobs for ex-prisoners - Daily Telegraph
  • Prisoners leaving jail will have to join Work Programme to claim benefits - Guardian
  • Yes, legal aid will be cut, but not where it hurts the silks - Polly Toynbee

Damian Green says Britain has become addicted to importing immigrants rather than training domestic workers

GREEN DAMIAN BLUE BACKGROUND"Mr Green said Britain remains open to skilled migrants but called on businesses to kick the "habit" of immigration and hire British-born workers. "Like all addictions, it takes some time to wean people off but it’s good for you to be weaned off an addiction and it will be good for business in the long run if we have more of an instinct that’s, ‘Let’s find a British worker and, if necessary, let’s train a British worker’," Mr Green said." - Daily Telegraph

Grant Shapps to announce scheme to pay council tenants to do their own DIY - The Sun

Need to run the country from your iPad? There's a £20,000 taxpayer-funded app for that, Prime Minister - Daily Mail

Police squander £4.8m on full-time union reps despite cutting number of officers

Davies-Phillip-in-Commons"Tory MP Philip Davies, who obtained the figures, said: ‘The public expect the police budget to be spent on deterring crime and catching criminals, not on paying the salaries of trade union officials. If the trade unions want to represent their members they should pay for it themselves, not expect the taxpayers to foot the bill. How on earth police forces can justify increasing the amount they are spending on this is beyond me.’" - Daily Mail

The Archbishop of Westminster criticises gay marriage proposals

  • "The true meaning of marriage is in danger of being lost... the leader of five million Roman Catholics in England and Wales will warn... Redefining marriage to include homosexuals would be a “profoundly radical step” stripping it of its “distinctive nature”, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, will say. The warning, the most significant intervention yet into the debate on gay marriage, is in a letter to be read from the pulpit in 2,500 churches during Mass this Sunday." - Daily Telegraph
  • "Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, gave his full support to the legalisation of gay marriage as opponents stepped up their resistance to the proposal." - Independent
  • Let church and state agree to differ on gay marriage - Dominic Lawson

Ed Miliband to urge 'patriotism' in British business policy

Miliband Ed Purple"Labour leader Ed Miliband is to call for more "patriotism" in manufacturing policy to boost British industry. In a speech to the manufacturers' organisation EEF, he is expected to say protectionism should be avoided but "pride and patriotism" are needed in order for British business to succeed." - BBC

  • Ed Balls, the unlikely Blairite, is out to make new friends in the City - Mary Riddell

Scottish opposition parties say Alex Salmond must come clean over tax deal for Rupert Murdoch - Scotsman

  • Rupert Murdoch 'offered to move BSkyB HQ to Scotland' - Guardian

Putin’s Cold War politics will fail Russia - Sir Malcolm Rifkind for the Daily Telegraph

  • Putin makes his presence felt as protesters take to Moscow's streets - Guardian

Remembering Norman St John Stevas

  • St John Stevas Norman"Norman St John Stevas loved the ancient institutions to which he belonged or was connected. The Commons, the Lords, Cambridge, the House of Windsor and Rome all provided a platform and he usually achieved distinction in his dealings with all." - Independent
  • "Lord St John was flamboyant and colourful – dandyish, even – and there are few politicians like him today, with a hinterland stretching far beyond Westminster. Yet he was also a true Parliamentarian: the modern select committee system is his abiding political legacy." - Daily Telegraph

Policy Exchange marks its tenth anniversary

Policy Exchange"Probably more than any other organisation, the well-resourced brains trust has shaped Tory thinking – on elected police commissioners, Michael Gove's school reforms and the pupil premium." - Guardian

MPs criticise the BBC for being "unambitious" about the scope for efficiency savings - Guardian

Councils to be paid to improve parenting skills - BBC

IT firm behind 'unworkable' NHS database keeps IT deal - Daily Telegraph

Christopher Tappin denied bail by Texas court - Daily Telegraph

And finally... From Ed Miliband and Wallace to Mayor Boris and Barney Rubble... the politicians and their cartoon alter egos - Daily Mail

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