Newslinks for Saturday 28th April 2012
3pm International: One man confronted a whole hemisphere for Britain and the Falkland Islanders. It wasn't Barack Obama. It was Stephen Harper. Friend of Israel. Low tax conservative. Social conservative. All round good man.
Simon Reevell MP on Comment: Pressing ahead with Lords reform without a referendum misrepresents what voters agreed to
Glyn Gaskarth on Local Government: The politics of pensions schemes
Local Government: Council byelection from yesterday
- Nick Clegg: No need for a Hunt inquiry, as he is already going to "reveal all" to Leveson
- Historian Andrew Roberts says "the Leveson Inquiry is a kangaroo court"
David Cameron cornered over Jeremy Hunt
"Lord Justice Leveson will not rule on whether Jeremy Hunt broke the Ministerial Code in his dealings with the Murdoch empire, sources have disclosed. The judge’s position will undermine David Cameron’s refusal to order a Whitehall investigation into the Culture Secretary’s conduct in relation to the News Corporation bid for full control of BSkyB. Sources said that Lord Leveson, who is carrying out a public inquiry into media standards, “does not consider himself to be the arbiter of the code”." - Daily Telegraph
- Inquiry tells No 10: It's your job to decide whether Hunt broke rules - Independent
> From yesterday:
- Columnist Bruce Anderson: Poms are bad enough for Murdoch, but Cameron's an Old Etonian pom to boot
- WATCH: Top DCMS civil servant dodges Hunt questions
Leveson inquiry rejects Jeremy Hunt's bid to appear early
"Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has had his request to appear at the Leveson Inquiry early refused after pledging to hand over his private emails about the BSkyB takeover bid. A spokesman said Lord Leveson had decided not to change the scheduling "in the interests of fairness to all"." - BBC
- "Pressure mounted on beleaguered Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday, as a Westminster sleaze watchdog called for a swift investigation of allegations over his handling of News Corporation’s takeover bid for BSkyB." - Scotsman
- "From George Osborne to Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May, the Tories tipped for the top job are pulling up lame. But Boris Johnson could gallop up on the outside" - Matthew Norman
- The worst days of Major and Brown felt like this – but the public should not rush to judgment - Charles Moore
The Telegraph pile on Hunt, saying he "avoided £100,000 tax bill in deal just days before rate rise" - Daily Telegraph
Iain Duncan Smith says suggested £10bn welfare cuts will be tough
"George Osborne will be blocked if he attempts to raid a further £10 billion from the welfare budget, a former Tory leader is warning, as a major faultline opens up in the Cabinet over the next round of spending cuts. Iain Duncan Smith has told the Chancellor that welfare spending is not an “easy target” and rejects the call to squeeze the bill by £10 billion between 2014 and 2016 to protect spending in other Whitehall departments." - The Times (£)
IDS interview: ‘You fester on incapacity benefit. No one cares, and you get worse’ - The Times (£)
Tory backbenchers urge party to reduce fuel duty and soften tone of language to appeal to ordinary voters
"Robert Halfon, a member of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, urged ministers to drop their aggressive language about unions and pleaded for a cut in fuel duty to help ordinary families "crushed" by soaring petrol prices. ... Mr Halfon said the Tories found it difficult to convey the appeal of policies – such as raising income tax thresholds – designed to help "hardworking people, strugglers or strivers"." - Independent
"Cameron is urged by senior Tories to bring the Cabinet reshuffle forward after turbulent month sees poll ratings crash"
"Middle-ranking ministers being tipped for promotion include housing minister Grant Shapps, employment minister Chris Grayling and disability minister Maria Miller. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke are widely predicted to be axed, while party chairman Baroness Warsi, who is admired by senior figures but thought unsuited to her current post, is expected to be moved to a new portfolio." - Daily Mail
Grant Shapps rejects Newham "social cleansing claims"
"My view is that it's unacceptable to say to families, we're going to move you 130 miles away without giving you a say. Some people might want to start a new life. Fine. But you don't do that behind their backs, writing to housing associations and setting it up. It's also borderline illegal. I'm absolutely clear that, given the housing cap of £21,000 – and in Newham it's something like £15,000, because it depends where you are – there are places available for rent, so why would you do this?" - Grant Shapps interview in the Guardian
Damian Green summoned to Parliament to explain Heathrow chaos
"Damian Green, the immigration minister, has been summoned to explain a crisis at border control to MPs after a spate of lengthy queues and increased waiting times spread to Heathrow’s flagship terminal. Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, told the Financial Times that he had asked Mr Green to appear before the panel of MPs as reports of “chaos” at British airports gathered pace." - FT (£)
- Passengers are being forced to wait up to an hour and a half to get in to the UK as the Border Force routinely misses its daily targets for queue times - Daily Telegraph
Patrick O'Flynn: "not only is the Lib Dem presence in the Government damaging the country, it is now also doing potentially lethal damage to Conservative electoral prospects."
"The Lib Dems have worked out that damaging the Tories is in their interest. Twice as many of the 57 Lib Dem MPs have Tories in second place in their constituencies as have Labour in second place. So by depressing the Tory rating through acts of sabotage the Lib Dems can expect to save twice as many seats as they would by concentrating their fire on Labour. If this strategy results in Labour becoming the largest party after the next election the Lib Dems will just swap sides, so what do they care?" - Patrick O'Flynn in the Daily Express
- Most voters think the Lib Dems have sacrificed too many of their principles - Independent
- 'I'd vote for the Lib Dems again, on one condition: That they ditch the Tories' - Independent
Boris Johnson: ‘He’s a barefaced . . .’ [pauses] Liar? ‘Yes’
"He says his opponent, who is accused of using a company to minimise tax, has still failed to produce evidence of his own full earnings. “It is unbelievable,” he snipes. “He is a barefaced . . .” Liar? “Yes.” No regrets there, then. ... Asked about national politics, Mr Johnson squirms. “I’m far more interested in driverless trains.” And then he hits out at Mr Livingstone again. “‘I won’t automate the Tube,’ ” he says, mimicking his opponent’s voice. “LUDDITE. The guy is a Luddite.”" - Boris Johnson interview in the Times (£)
> Yesterday on Local Government: New poll shows Boris 8% ahead - but could he get his budget through the London Assembly?
How a decade of cuts banished the depression of the 1930s
"‘There is no magic in it,’ Chamberlain said in his triumphant 1935 Budget interview screened in cinemas up and down the land. 'The application of the principles of sound finance has established confidence in industry. Confidence has begotten enterprise and enterprise has increased employment and profits, so revenue has increased faster than expenditure.’ ... In other words: cuts in public spending, balancing the Budget, low interest rates and, finally, tax cuts." - George Trefgarne for the Daily Mail
- Liberal Democrat describes Tory plans for 5% spending cuts as 'self-harm' - Guardian
- How to pull Britain back from the brink - Alistair Darling in the FT (£)
Chief constable quits over police reforms - The Times (£)
Scottish council elections: ‘Jobs for all’ promise from Ed Miliband - Scotsman
Alex Salmond is an ‘undercover lobbyist’ for Murdoch, says Ed Miliband
"Mr Miliband said this week’s revelations about the “warm” relationship between the SNP leader and the press baron were “shocking”, adding that Mr Salmond should have been “open” about the fact that he was prepared to talk to Jeremy Hunt about the BSkyB bid. Mr Salmond has defended himself by saying that he nurtured his relationship with the Murdoch empire and was prepared to lobby for the News Corp take-over of BSkyB in order to protect and bring jobs to Scotland." - Scotsman
- "Cracks have started to appear in Alex Salmond’s Cabinet over his decision to lobby for Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of BSkyB after his deputy lashed out at the BBC and suggested she does not approve of the media mogul" - Daily Telegraph
Graeme Archer: When did Britain become the kind of country that tolerates voting fraud?
"In the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where a Ken Livingstone supporter is mayor, the number of registered voters increased by a “surprising” 7,023, in a single month, between April and May 2010. Likewise, in a borough with a large Bangladeshi community – not a society to which the concept of communal voting is unknown, or one famous for its liberated women – the proportion of postal votes has inexorably grown." - Graeme Archer for the Daily Telegraph
There's only two Derek Rowleys! Labour cries foul as Tories field namesake in 'lookalike' election - Daily Mail
Taxi for Tory donor: Tycoon loses contract after rows over cash-for-access, cyclists and bus lanes - Daily Mirror
"Former Labour MP Margaret Moran will not face a jury on charges of fiddling her expenses, after a judge determined that she is not fit to plead." - Scotsman
Cops want power to nail internet pervs - The Sun
Martin McGuinness hints he is willing to meet the Queen - Scotsman
And finally... "David Cameron has shown he is totes clued up about The Only Way Is Essex" - The Sun