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Newslinks for Thursday 23rd August 2012

GoveSkyNews6.30pm WATCH: Michael Gove: After seeing David Cameron as Prime Minister, "I know I couldn't" do the job myself

4.15pm ToryDiary: Is Osborne really stepping back from electoral strategy?

3.45pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Learn from the power of love

1pm Writing on Comment about the launch of Conservative Friends of Russia, Garvan Walshe says: The Conservative Party's links should be with democrats in other countries, not with those who oppress them

11.30am Local government: More access for local bloggers to attend council meetings

11.15am WATCH: Stephen Twigg MP: "Yes, we want rigour in [GCSE] marking, but it's got to be fair"

ToryDiary: Cameron and Obama inch closer to intervention in Syria

Mark Gettleson on Comment: A Liberal Democrat meltdown could kill Tory chances at the next election

Cameron shielding CleggLeftWatch: Cameron thinks Clegg's leadership "very precarious". Are more concessions to Liberal Democrats on the way?

Local Government: Only tiny number of expensive social homes are being sold

The Deep End: The brave, brilliant and infuriating Peter Hitchens

Cameron echoes Obama's warning to Syria over chemical weapons

"David Cameron has endorsed a warning by Barack Obama that the use, or even the threat, of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad could trigger a military intervention in Syria. In a telephone conversation on Wednesday evening, the two leaders agreed to "revisit their approach" if the Syrian president makes any moves towards using chemical weapons." - Guardian

> Today on ToryDiaryCameron and Obama inch closer to intervention in Syria

Osborne will not take charge of next general election campaign, sources claim

OSBORNE BLUE TIE"George Osborne will not take charge of the Conservatives’ 2015 election campaign – allowing him to concentrate on trying to revive the economy. Senior sources in Number Ten and the Treasury have told the Daily Mail that the Chancellor will not lead David Cameron’s re-election efforts. The Prime Minister is instead expected to recruit strategist Lynton Crosby, who masterminded both of Boris Johnson’s London mayoral election victories." - Daily Mail

  • "Osborne needs to “show leadership” and take real action on the economy, the head of one of Britain’s biggest business organisations has said." - Daily Express
  • Two years on, Team cameron is no more - Independent
  • If this is the last chance before 2015 to revive the coalition's fortunes, then the case to ditch Osborne is daring but strong - Martin Kettle for the Guardian
  • George Osborne: an isolated chancellor - Guardian editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryAs bad borrowing figures are published, IOD members say the Government is failing on tax, jobs, regulation and infrastructure

Justine Greening may be reshuffled to make way for third Heathrow runway

Greening Justine parliament"Westminster sources said David Cameron was considering moving Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, to the transport department before a major shift in aviation policy. Miss Greening, a West London MP, has led the campaign against the expansion of Heathrow and is not likely even to consider allowing a third runway while responsible for the policy." - Daily Telegraph

Cameron fears Clegg may be toppled as Lib Dem leader

"The PM has told senior ministers Mr Clegg’s position is “very precarious”. Mr Clegg’s overthrow is the greatest threat to the Coalition’s survival, the Premier now believes. The poll of 500 Lib Dem activists by website Liberal Democrat Voice reveals a big division over who should lead the struggling party into the 2015 election." - The Sun

> From today:

Treasury plans to use loopholes to execute Green Belt land-grab

Countryside"Ministers are planning to seize chunks of the greenbelt to build housing developments and pave the way for a new hub airport... The Treasury is prepared to ‘have a fight’ with green campaigners by pushing through rules which would let ministers redesignate areas of greenbelt as available for development... Osborne plans to let ministers rather than local councils decide where to build hundreds of thousands of houses by reclassifying them as projects of national importance." - Daily Mail | Times (£)

  • Relax planning rules to tackle rental shortage, says Government adviser - Daily Telegraph
  • First-time house buyers lose out under proposals to solve rental shortage - Independent

> Today on Local GovernmentOnly tiny number of expensive social homes are being sold

> Yesterday on Local Government: Conservative councillor attacks Policy Exchange proposal to sell expensive social housing

English GCSEs marked down to curb grade inflation

Gove IDCC"Schools across the country are reporting that students who sat GCSEs in English have been harshly marked down as the government's exams regulator, backed by the education secretary, Michael Gove, seeks to curb grade inflation. Headteachers representing dozens of schools in England told the Guardian that, in some cases, students had been marked down by an entire grade compared with the results that teachers had predicted." - Guardian

  • Younger pupils ‘are being failed as heads seek exam quick-fixes to satisfy Ofsted’ - Times (£)

Cameron hails ECB stance on €uro

"European Central Bank (ECB) promises to support the euro will not be an excuse for Greece to ease up on efforts to tackle its economic crisis, David Cameron and Francois Hollande have said. In a phone call, the Prime Minister and French President welcomed the ECB's stance but said this "did not negate" the need for Greece to stabilise its economy." - Belfast Telegraph

  • Greece bailout: Merkel and Hollande in extension talks - BBC

IDS vows to fight 'ludicrous' Euro diktat on winter cash for expats that cost Government £100m

DUNCAN SMITH DECEMBER 07"Iain Duncan Smith last night vowed to fight a ‘ludicrous’ European ruling allowing expats living in warm countries to claim a total of  up to £100million in winter fuel payments. The European Court of Justice ruling means the Government must pay the annual handout worth as much as £300 to up to 444,000 British pensioners  living abroad. The Work and Pensions Secretary is now considering bringing in a ‘temperature’ test so payments would only be made to those living in colder climates." - Daily Mail

Guardian previews "Britannia Unchained", new book by Free Enterprise Group

Free Enterprise Group"Founded in October 2011, the group lists 38 supporting MPs on its website. The membership is youngish, more female and less white than the Conservative parliamentary party as a whole. It includes many of the new MPs currently identified by Tory-watchers as potential party leaders, including Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel and Elizabeth Truss. The fact that David Cameron leads a coalition rather than a Conservative administration has given the group a rare freedom to criticise government policy and suggest alternatives." - Guardian

Ashcroft tells PM to defy Tory right on gay marriage

"David Cameron has been warned by the former Tory deputy chairman Michael Ashcroft that he will do himself more political damage if he gives way to the Tory right over gay marriage than if he sticks to what he believes." - Independent

> From yesterday - Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The politics of same-sex marriage

Poor countries should rely on tax, not British aid, MPs say

"Ministers should do more to ensure that recipients of British aid money do more to collect their own taxes properly, MPs said last night. The Commons International Development Committee said that if poorer nations collected their own taxes effectively, they would not have to rely on British taxpayers quite so much. They said a reliable flow of tax revenues offered countries a far better route out of poverty than reliance on foreign aid donations." - Daily Mail

Louise Mensch demands a female Justice minister

Mensch Louise"Louise Mensch... has criticised David Cameron for appointing an all-male team to the Ministry of Justice. ... "We should get a woman minister in the MoJ and I am sure that it is/was already Cameron's ambition," she tweeted yesterday. It is necessary because the ministry deals with "rape, sexual trafficking and other crimes against women," she said." - Independent

Tory council clears sale of school playing field which produced Olympian - Daily Telegraph

Man fined for sending abusive email to Tory MP - Independent

Polly Peck creditors will chase Tories for £440,000 - Independent

> Yesterday on LeftWatch - A new campaign to highlight sources of Tory funding: ‘The website David Cameron doesn't want you to see’

Salmond fails to recognise Murdoch’s power has gone’ says Harriet Harman

Harman Harriet March 2011"Alex Salmond was last night urged to recognise that “the age of deference to the Murdochs is over” and join all-party efforts on future regulation of the press. Ahead of her visit to Edinburgh, Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said that Mr Salmond is now the only political leader who has not accepted that the Murdoch power base is dead in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal." - Scotsman

  • Come to Northumberland for cheap alcohol, Scots urged - Independent

Consumers hit by energy and mortgage price hikes - City AM

Class divide in health widens - Guardian

RBS investigated by United States for Iran sanction breach - Scotsman

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