Newslinks for Friday 27th April 2012
3pm WATCH: Whips Office calling all Tory MPs! Whips Office calling all Tory MPs! In all media interviews, use this Australian Labour politician as a template...
1pm The Deep End on internet porn and children: "Imagine that one of your neighbours is a distributor of pornography. His house is full of the stuff, with all but the most extreme images lying around everywhere. Now imagine that he leaves his door open at all times, allowing your children to wander in where they can view his collection at will. How do you feel about this person? Obviously, you’d warn your children to keep well away, but wouldn’t you also want him to take some responsibility, to keep his door locked and his curtains drawn?"
Also on Today's Deep End:
- These are remarkably safe times to be a child. EXCEPT...
- Ringfencing the €urozone's troubled member states cannot work
- The submerged American state of hidden subsidies and transfers
- The collapse of marriage is Japan's biggest problem
Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Boehner emerges as Romney's chief ally on Capitol Hill
11am Gill Wyness and Tom Frostick on Comment: Why Conservatives should back efforts to tackle information inequalities in higher education
10.15am Local Government: New poll shows Boris 8% ahead - but could he get his budget through the London Assembly?
Columnist Bruce Anderson: Poms are bad enough for Murdoch, but Cameron's an Old Etonian pom to boot
Tony Lodge on Comment: A Gigawatt or a Megawatt? Why the PM must get a grip on energy policy
Cllr Gary Porter on Local Government: Vote Conservative next Thursday for better local government
Boris attacks "charity tax" and "snooper's charter" as second poll finds him eight point ahead
"Boris Johnson has urged the Government to retreat from its proposed “charity tax” as he seeks to distance himself from a Conservative Party sliding in the polls. The Mayor of London also put himself at odds with ministers over the proposed “snooper’s charter”, designed to allow the authorities to monitor conversations over the internet. “I’m very, very sceptical about that,” he said. Mr Johnson used an interview with The House magazine to portray himself as a political force independent of Tory ministers. “My relationship with George [Osborne] is fine — provided he’s coughing up,” he said." - The Times (£)
- Second poll shows Boris with an 8 point lead (but Coleman, Barnes and Malthouse could all lose) - Daily Telegraph
- Livingstone says he is "ahead of his time" in support for extremist preacher Qaradawi - Daily Telegraph
- Tom Watson concedes that voters don't like Livingstone - The Sun
- Don't knock Boris and Ken – they're making democracy work - Mary Dejevsky, The Independent
- Harman uses Clegg's backyard to launch all-out attack on Lib Dems - The Independent
- Labour aims to seize Newport from Con-Lib coalition - The Guardian
- Local parties are shunning pictures of their leaders in local election literature - Financial Times (£)
- UKIP pins hopes on disenchanted voters as it launches election manifesto - Daily Express
Today's Must-Read: Britain is becoming a three-party country
"When the local elections are held next month, it could well be that a new picture of Britain starts to emerge. Rather than being one nation, with Tory shires and Labour cities, we may see a political tricolour, with the nationalists at the top, Labour in the middle and the Tories at the bottom…When the Tories last commissioned a study about the North, it concluded that the geographical aspect was a red herring. The greater problem was the lack of a message for the blue-collar workers who make up a greater share of voters in the North. These people are worried about crime, schools and the cost of living in general – not the environment, overseas aid or Lords reform." - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
- ToryDiary: The Spectator's Fraser Nelson makes the case for Boris
- Boris 8% ahead in new ComRes poll
- Local Government: Shapps demands action on the Tower Hamlets voter fraud scandal:
- Cllr Peter Golds gives new evidence of voter fraud and intimidation
EU migrants to get free healthcare in Britain
"Britain was ordered by EU chiefs last night to give millions of foreigners full access to NHS healthcare. In a move that could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds, the Brussels-based European Commission insisted that immigrants from within the EU are entitled to stay and use the service indefinitely even if they do not pay UK taxes." - Daily Express
- Spain downgraded as IMF is told to plan for Greek euro-exit - The Times (£)
The Hunt hunt latest. Those on his case include...
1) ...Bernard Jenkin (who breaks ranks to say independent adviser should investigate whether Ministerial Code was broken)...
"The senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration Committee, suggested he was unhappy with the Government's handling of the situation when he said the Prime Minister's independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, Sir Alex Allan, should conduct "swift preliminary enquiries" to see if the Culture Secretary had a case to answer. Mr Jenkin said: "I think it is extraordinary that any special adviser should have anything at all to do with a Secretary of State's quasi-judicial role in a matter such as a takeover bid and whether to refer that takeover bid." - The Independent
2) ...Harriet Harman (still toiling to keep the story going...)
"Harriet Harman last night challenged Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to publish his text messages and emails with former adviser Adam Smith about News Corporation’s bid to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB. The Shadow Culture Secretary issued her demand as Labour sought to keep up pressure on Mr Hunt…Ed Miliband yesterday claimed Mr Hunt remained in his job only because he was a “firewall” protecting David Cameron from scrutiny over his own dealings with News Corp executives including Mr Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks." - Daily Express
3) ...The FSA...
"But the Financial Services Authority is looking at claims that Mr Smith’s giving News Corporation price-sensitive information about its BSkyB takeover bid constitutes the serious offence of ‘market abuse’. In addition, Mr Hunt will have to hand over copies of paperwork on the takeover and transcripts of his emails to Mr Smith to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards." - Daily Mail
4) ...Oh, and don't forget the LibDems...
"Senior Lib Dems stopped short of backing Mr Hunt, saying only that he should explain himself when he gives evidence to Lord Justice Leveson. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, told ITV News: “Jeremy has to be given an opportunity to present his side to the story.” - Daily Telegraph
- Hughes calls for Hunt enquiry - Sky News
- Cable retreats on executive pay curbs - Financial Times (£)
(And the DCMS Permanent Secretary is gnomic when quizzed by the Public Accounts Committee) - The Guardian
A history of Special Adviser gaffes - Daily Telegraph
- Murdoch urged to reveal details of first inquiry into hacking on second day of Leveson evidence - The Times (£)
- The all-powerful press baron is just a myth - Phil Collins, The Times (£)
New evidence emerges that Osborne was lobbied by Murdoch - The Independent
And there are bad headlines for another senior politician: "Alex Salmond endured one his worst batterings at the hands of opposition leaders during First Minister’s Questions as he was attacked over his dealings with the tycoons Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump." - Scotsman
- Millionaire Labour donor defects to SNP - Herald Scotland
Liam Fox labels LibDems "roadblocks to deregulation"
"Inside the Coalition, resistance to deregulation largely comes from the Liberal Democrats. Two things need to be pointed out to them. First, that they make up only one sixth – not one half – of the Coalition and must expect that Conservative economic ideas will be dominant. Second, that if the economy does not improve, they can expect a very unhappy date in 2015 with the voters, and their antipathy to labour market reform makes this more likely." - Daily Telegraph
"Mr Fox, the former Defence Secretary, told The Sun: “If you have a deficit reduction strategy without labour market reform you are driving with the handbrake on. The Lib Dems will be totally liable if they are the roadblock to deregulation. Any small company in Britain will tell you they are scared of taking people on because they can’t get rid of them if it doesn’t work out. It makes it impossible to take on new people.” - The Sun
- A snapshot of MPs' growing willingness to take on senior civil servants at the Public Accounts Committee - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
War of words erupts over welfare plan - Belfast Telegraph
David Cameron: This is the greenest government ever
"The government has achieved its aim of being the "greenest ever", David Cameron said on Thursday, in his first significant remarks on the environment since reaching office. "When I became prime minister I said I would aim to have the greenest government ever and this is exactly what we have," he told energy ministers from the world's leading nations at a summit in London. Cameron said he "passionately believed" the growth of renewable energy was vital to the UK's future. "I believe renewable energy can be among our cheapest energy sources within years not decades," he said. But he warned: "We need to make it financially sustainable." - The Guardian
- Meet the drinking, smoking and 'shoplifting' Australian backpacker hired by SamCam as the No 10 nanny - Daily Mail
Wet Tory magic: rain goddess Caroline Spelman conjures up one of the wettest Aprils on record, but still urges people to combat drought by saving water as tornadoes, torrents and thunderstorms threaten Britain
"Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, said the spring deluge would not be enough to end the drought affecting many parts of the country. “I could be deluded into thinking that I had the power to make it rain this week,” she joked. She added: “Although we have got really heavy rainfall this month, it isn’t enough to make up for two very dry winters in a row. “So it continues to be important that everyone takes responsibility for saving water. The current conditions allow the water companies and farmers to top up their reservoirs, which is a good thing. But it is very important that we continue to make all the efforts we can.” - Daily Telegraph
Neil Heywood did not work for UK government, Hague insists - Daily Telegraph
Couples will be forced to breach confidentiality rules and reveal their finances to each other in child benefit shake-up - Daily Mail
Mystery surrounds Jemima Khan's claim that George Galloway has converted to Islam - Daily Telegraph