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Newslinks for Sunday 19th August 2012

7.30pm WATCH: Chuka Umunna MP: "There is absolutely no evidence" that relaxing Sunday trading laws would help the economy

4.45pm WATCH: Julian Assange lists his demands, including that America "end its witch hunt" against Wikileaks

Cameron pale blue tie3.30pm MPsETC: The Prime Minister wishes Muslims "a very happy and peaceful Eid"

1.15pm ToryDiary update: Priti Patel MP says Ministers must do more to help keep fare increases down

10am ToryDiary: I'm back from holiday with a conclusion. Cameron's 2015 aim is to re-form the Coalition.

ToryDiary: The next Coalition u-turn on the horizon: rail fare increases?

Lord Flight on Comment: There is an unhealthy division between children who can and cannot attend independent schools

Local Government: 

Rail fare hike sparks Tory and Lib Dem revolt

Train station"George Osborne is facing a mass revolt by Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs over soaring rail fares, amid warnings that above-inflation increases will destroy remaining support for the coalition among commuters in marginal seats. ... Conservative and Lib Dem MPs said they would lobby the chancellor and the transport secretary, Justine Greening, to cap increases at 1% above inflation at most." - Observer | Sunday Telegraph

  • 87% think rail fare increases are unreasonable - YouGov via TwitPic

> From yesterday - Robert Halfon MP on Comment: The government has worked to keep petrol prices down — now the oil market must bear responsibility too

David Cameron to concede some terms to Salmond - in exchange for in/out-only question

British-flag-640"Cameron is preparing to concede terms to Alex Salmond on the format of the independence referendum on condition that he gives voters a straight choice... Sources close to the negotiations... say UK ministers are now preparing to accept the SNP’s demand that 16 and 17-year-olds are allowed to take part in the proposed 2014 vote. ... UK ministers will also agree to the Scottish Government setting both the timing of the referendum and the wording of a single question, provided it’s accepted 
as fair by the Electoral Commission." - Scotland on Sunday

Tory reshuffle stalls as Ken Clarke refuses to quit job as Justice Secretary 

CLARKE HAPPY"Mr Clarke is understood to have let the Prime Minister know he is unwilling to be moved because he is only halfway through a five-year package of reforms of the justice system and he wants to stay on to oversee their full implementation." - Sunday Telegraph

"Mr Cameron plans to keep all the Conservative Cabinet ‘big beasts’ – Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley – in place." - Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: 

Hague ignored lawyers to send Assange 'threat' note

Hague FCO long

"The calamitous Foreign Office note to Ecuador – interpreted there and elsewhere as a threat to raid the country's London embassy where the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, is holed up – was sanctioned by William Hague, despite the grave reservations of lawyers in his department." - Independent on Sunday

  • "Sources close to Julian Assange have suggested that the WikiLeaks founder is willing to give himself up to face his Swedish accusers in return for an undertaking that he will not be extradited to the United States." - Sunday Times (£)

Michael Gove: Pupils win in the classroom at schools set free to teach them

Gove pointing"[T]he same people who stood in the way of the first academies — town hall bureaucrats, trade union leaders, Labour’s left-wing — are standing in the way of further reform. These people... are the enemies of promise. That is why they need to be defeated. So that many, many more young people will be able to enjoy their summers in the future, confident in the knowledge they are attending schools which have put them on the path to success." - Michael Gove for the Sun on Sunday

Gove 'made school deal with council'

"Campaigners called for a parliamentary inquiry yesterday into allegations that Michael Gove overruled advice not to sell off a school's playing fields in return for the local Tory council funding a controversial free school in the same borough." - Independent on Sunday

  • The coalition is charged with letting playing fields fall to developers, but Michael Gove is merely going where Labour went before him - John Rentoul for the Independent on Sunday
  • Michael Gove must be allowed to complete his quiet revolution - Matthew d'Ancona for the Sunday Telegraph

Hammond axes Defence top brass in new £4m cull - with staff on six-figure salaries due to be cut by a quarter

Hammond Philip arm Syrian rebels"Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is taking an axe to the top ranks of the Ministry of Defence by cutting the number of those on six-figure salaries by a quarter. Mr Hammond has decided to act after being stung by criticism that frontline troops have faced the brunt of recent cuts while the top brass have been largely unaffected. The decision means the separate posts of Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet, Naval Home Command, Land Forces and Air will disappear." - Mail on Sunday

Iain Duncan Smith has made a formal complaint to the BBC over its coverage of employment figures

IDS TO CSJ"A major row erupted after [IDS] accused BBC Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders of showing a pro-Labour bias by undermining the Government’s jobs claims. ... [He] claimed that the BBC backs the economic stance of Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and seizes every chance to ‘dump on the Government’. And he accused influential Ms Flanders of ‘pouring cold water’ over the rise in employment and ‘peeing all over’ British business." - Mail on Sunday

Conservative MPs revolt over new threat to green belt

Countryside"Proposals by the Coalition to ease planning restrictions on green belt land in an urgent attempt to boost growth has sparked a revolt by Conservative MPs. ... Tory MPs have hit out against the proposals. Chris Skidmore, who has campaigned to protect the green belt in his Kingswood constituency, said: “Protecting the green belt is not simply a case of saying 'not in my back yard’. We have a duty of trust to protect green belt land for future generations. It is right that the NPPF contained specific protections.”" - Sunday Telegraph

Tories facing loss of support from millions of churchgoers over gay marriage

"David Cameron’s plans to legalise gay marriages does not sit well with six out of ten regular churchgoers who said they are less likely to vote Conservative in the next election as a result of the Prime Minister’s stance on the matter. As religious groups estimate that 7.6 million people attend church once a month this could mean a loss of millions of votes." - Mail on Sunday

Chris Heaton-Harris MP: Britain's businesses can withstand any shock from the eurozone

HEATON-HARRIS CHRIS"Is this continual chilling effect on our economy actually worse than any shock a Greek default might cause? Back in December 2009, such an event would have caught many by surprise and been a massive shock to the world’s financial system, but it could hardly be called a surprise if it were to happen now. Banks, businesses and ordinary people have been preparing, awaiting the inevitable. ... Allowing Greece to default and leave will not be pleasant, in the short term, for any EU economy, including ours. But it would leave a stronger, core eurozone, bring clarity to markets and mean that all economies can move on." - Chris Heaton-Harris MP for the Sunday Telegraph

  • Germany may be the country that brings the euro crashing down - Christopher Booker for the Sunday Telegraph

David Rutley MP: British business leaders need to stand up for the private sector

Rutley David"We should not forget that the private sector employs 80pc of those in work. Since May 2010, it has created more than 800,000 new jobs – which is more than double the number of those that have been lost in the public sector. Thousands of British businesses also make a major contribution to tax revenues and work hard to serve their customers. This is all surely worth celebrating. Now is the time for business leaders to show the same energy, determination and creativity that they display in the marketplace. Team GB’s Olympic successes set the template to follow." - David Rutley MP for the Sunday Telegraph

> From yesterday - Chris Kelly MP on Comment: Britain's family firms are some of the nation's leading local, national and global business champions

Cameron decides Olympians will not automatically receive honours

"Olympic gold medallists have been barred from automatically receiving an honour from the Queen. Tough new rules demanded by David Cameron mean topping the podium is no longer enough. ... The Whitehall committee that assesses nominations for sporting honours must now take into account the length of career, other honours they have received and whether they have "given back" to their sport or wider community." - Independent on Sunday

  • The Olympics should have taught us the benefits of picking winners - Lord Skidelsky for the Observer
  • Labour can capitalise on patriotic spirit from the Games, says Ed Miliband's new political guru - Observer

Sainsbury’s chief and Church leaders criticise plans for Sunday trading reform

"Justin King, the group’s chief executive, said the restrictions on opening hours — suspended during the Olympics and Paralympics — were “a great British compromise” and should not be abandoned. In a second attack, the Church of England teamed up with a union and a shopkeepers’ group to call for curbs on opening hours to remain in place." - Sunday Telegraph

No 10 asks ministers: Can we now support £30bn Severn barrage? - Independent on Sunday

Survey shows that most Conservative-controlled county councils are switching lights off for hours every night - Observer

Tory with key climate change role in bid to build giant North Sea windfarm - Mail on Sunday

Alistair Darling urges George Osborne to 'act now' on economy

DARLING ALISTAIR 2"Chancellor George Osborne must change course on the economy now or cause "immeasurable damage", his predecessor Alistair Darling has warned. In an open letter, published in the Sunday People, the Labour MP claims both Mr Osborne and the Bank of England have "given up on any plan for growth". He suggests more spending on homes, the railways and a third Heathrow runway." - BBC

Even Stalin didn’t dare kill off Sundays – but the Tories will - Peter Hitchens for the Mail on Sunday

Syria rebels aided by UK intelligence - Sunday Times (£)

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