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Newslinks for Thursday 21st June 2012

8.15pm WATCH: David Cameron refuses to condemn Gary Barlow's tax arrangements

5pm MPsETC: Michael Gove defends O-Level plan as a path towards "a more equal education system"

4pm Malcolm Moss on Comment: The Government should change Britain's outdated casino laws to help boost local economies

2.30pm WATCH:

2pm MPsETC: Tory MPs speak out against regional pay in Commons debate

Lansley strike11.30am WATCH: Andrew Lansley: "I'm disappointed the BMA have gone down this path, because it won't achieve anything"

10am ToryDiary: Tax avoidance confessions of a former Shadow Treasury Minister

ToryDiary: Jimmy Carr, martyr to socialism

Also on ToryDiary: Michael Gove speeds his extraordinary sense of forward momentum by abolishing GCSEs

Columnist Andrew Lilico: If the €uro collapses, what should British policymakers do?

TrussElizabeth Truss MP on Comment: It’s time Britain got a "Maths shock" and recognised the subject’s impact on our future prosperity

LeftWatch: Labour's NEC election results: Red Ken, Karl Marx, and the "extreme left"

Local government: Boris says the Government "not moving fast enough" on strike ballots minimum threshold

The Deep End: The DIY guide to eugenics

WATCH: David Cameron: Jimmy Carr tax avoidance "not morally acceptable"

Michael Gove plans to scrap GCSEs and return to O-Levels

Govepic"The most radical shake-up in school exams for 30 years will see dumbed-down GCSEs scrapped and rigorous O-levels brought back. Leaked documents seen by the Mail reveal Education Secretary Michael Gove has drawn up a blueprint which would tear up the current exam system as well as abolishing the National Curriculum." - Daily Mail

  • "Sources have told the BBC that Mr Gove believes GCSEs "have gone beyond the point of rescue". The changes, planned to be brought in for pupils from autumn 2014, would amount to the biggest change to the exams system for a generation. Less academic pupils would sit a different "more straightforward" exam, like the old CSE." - BBC

David Cameron says Jimmy Carr is "morally wrong" to avoid tax

"David Cameron last night blasted comedian Jimmy Carr — describing his tax dodging as “morally wrong”. The PM said Carr, exposed for squirrelling £3.3million away from Revenue and Customs, was undertaking “straightforward tax avoidance”. And he said it was unfair Carr did not pay his taxes in the same way as fans who watch his shows." - The Sun

  • "This avoidance damages society. It robs the Treasury of the money it needs to fund services to the public, while leaving the public with the sense that, for some people, the normal rules don’t apply." - The Times (£) leader

Cameron says Government will "look at" scrapping fuel duty rise

Cameron housebuilding"The Prime Minister said the Coalition would “look at” scrapping the 3p increase in petrol tax planned for this autumn. However, he dampened speculation that the Treasury will actually be able to afford to cancel the extra duty." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Voters are taxed enough, and strained enough, already. Drivers, in particular, have been treated as the state’s milch cows for many a long year, paying swingeing motoring taxes (higher, according to some estimates, than in any country in the world save Turkey), of which less than half are reinvested in the road network." Daily Telegraph leader

Most GPs expected to work today as opposition to strike grows

Lansleypic"A survey by The Daily Telegraph found that two thirds of GP surgeries expected to have all their doctors working on Thursday and would be open for business as usual. The vast majority of hospitals said few or no operations would be cancelled." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Addressing a conference of NHS leaders in Manchester, Andrew Lansley said: “In seeking a more generous deal for doctors they are seeking a less fair deal for staff overall. I don’t think that NHS staff or the public will sympathise with this.” The Times (£)
  • "Doctors receive a return on their pension of £5 for every £1 they contribute, so what exactly are they striking for?" - Dr Sarah Wollaston for the Daily Express

> Yesterday: Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: A letter to Ed Miliband - will he condemn tomorrow's doctor's strike?

David Cameron told to expect heavy defeat on Lords reform

"David Cameron has been told by the government's chief whip that he is on course to suffer a heavy defeat on House of Lords reform ... In a sign of the collapse in relations between Downing Street and large sections of the Conservative parliamentary party, more than 100 Tory MPs have indicated to the whips that they are prepared to rebel." - Guardian

  • Nick Clegg: The House of Lords is an affront to democracy - Independent

Judge attacks Theresa May over immigration case

May Select cmmtee"Theresa May has been accused of “unacceptable and regrettable behaviour” by a judge as she became only the second Home Secretary in history to be found guilty of contempt of court. Mrs May ignored a legal agreement to release an Algerian robber from immigration detention."- Daily Telegraph

Health Minister Anne Milton attacks EU plan to ban cheap meat

"Anne Milton, the public health minister, said Europe appears to have “taken leave of its senses” over the decision in April to outlaw “desinewed” meat, a technique for removing scraps from bones. There are fears the ban could raise the price of burgers, sausages and pies, as well as wasting hundreds of tonnes of meat per week." - Daily Telegraph

Lord Ashcroft warns Tories that voters will make up their own mind about Ed Miliband

"An onslaught against Miliband would not improve the Tories' standing, and could damage it further. Voters think parties go on the attack when they have nothing to say for themselves. A view is gaining ground that the government lacks direction.." - Lord Ashcroft for the Guardian

  • The Tory party faces an existential threat that Labour must analyse - Labour MP Jon Trickett for the Guardian

Some rave reviews for William Hague's performance at PMQs

Haguepic"Mr Hague has retrieved his mojo. On yesterday’s evidence he is back to number two on the starting grid." Quentin Letts Daily Mail

  • "William Hague had an heroic PMQs and I do hope Dave and Nick tuned in to see how it’s done." - Ann Treneman The Times (£)
  • "Simon Hughes addressed him as 'the deputy … er, the foreign secretary'. This was greeted with mocking laughter from Labour, possibly because it implied that Mr Hughes can't tell the difference. As the jeering died away, Mr Hague said: "I won't mention to the deputy prime minister his slip. It's entirely between ourselves, within these four walls." - Simon Hoggart in The Guardian

> Yesterday: 

Dominic Raab MP: How bankers and unions can get their just deserts

"The capitalist case for standing up to the unions and empowering investors to take back control of their companies needs to be made in meritocratic terms. Civil service reforms to strengthen performance accountability should be bolstered by linking public sector pay to productivity. Militant unions should be banned from striking in the emergency services and transport sector if they cannot command majority support from members. Selling such reforms would be far easier if they were combined with a consistent message – based on just deserts – that applied in the City." - Dominic Raab MP for the FT (£)

Peter Oborne calls for George Osborne to be replaced as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Philip Hammond

Hammond Philip on DP"Tony Blair regrets bitterly to this day that he never shifted Gordon Brown out of the Treasury. David Cameron now faces a comparable decision. It remains to be seen whether he has the wisdom, the insight or the stomach to make the right decision." - Daily Telegraph

Spending cuts could last a decade, warns Sir Jeremy Heywood

"Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, said that work to balance the public finances was only a quarter of the way to completion. He told civil servants at the Institute for Government: “We are 25 per cent through fiscal adjustment. Spending cuts could last seven, eight, 10 years.” - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Yvette Cooper: Labour has learnt its lesson on immigration

Cooper Yvette"This isn’t the easiest subject for the Labour Party. In government we didn’t do enough to address people’s concerns on immigration. By the election, we had lost the argument — people felt that the system was unfair and politicians weren’t listening. We need to change." - Yvette Cooper for the Times (£)

Ken Livingstone tops poll for Labour's NEC - BBC

Police still failing to protect victims like Fiona Pilkington - The Sun

  • "The case of Fiona Pilkington was supposed to be the wake-up call that changed how police dealt with anti-social behaviour...Yet, two years on from being told by the police watchdog to raise their game, not a single force adequately identifies such vulnerable people." - The Sun Says

Bishops claiming up to £27,000 a year to attend the House of Lords - Independent

Who will find David Cameron a pro gay marriage archbishop? - Daily Telegraph

MurdochpicBoris dinner with Rupert Murdoch "not declared" - BBC

More vulnerable children to go to boarding school - The Times (£)

Poll shows just 27% of Scots want independence - Scotsman

Ministers to maintain England football boycott - BBC

> Yesterday MPsETC: Ministers will not attend any Euro 2012 match unless Ukraine changes justice policy

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