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31 Oct 2012 08:22:26

Newslinks for Wednesday 31st October 2012

8.15pm MPsETC: Full list of tonight's FIFTY-ONE THREE Tory rebels


6.45pm MPsETC: Seven observations about the ongoing EU budget debate

6.45pm Local government: Labour ditch Police candidate for Northamptonshire over arrest

4.15pm Dr David Green on Comment: Conservatives shouldn't dismiss Lord Heseltine’s recommendations for foreign takeovers out of hand

3.45pm JP Floru on Comment: Where do the stones come from, Lord Heseltine?

PMQs2.15pm WATCH: Today's session of PMQs in full

1.30pm ToryDiary: Miliband buries himself during a ghoulish session of PMQs

11.45am Local government: The Government should cherry pick from the Heseltine Review

11.30am WATCH: Lord Heseltine discusses his growth review: "Towns and cities need to have a bigger say in the way money is spent"

10.30am ToryDiary: John Hayes lets his rhetoric get away from Coalition policy — but does he have the blessings of the Tory leadership?

ToryDiary: Today's Commons vote is about much more than the EU budget

Columnist Jill Kirby: How to avoid further child benefit chaos

ZahawiOn Comment, Nadhim Zahawi MP says that localism can work, but only if we give it the space to do so: "This decision in Shottery is exactly the kind we've been rallying against. It's a decision taken by a Civil Servant at the centre, who will never have to live with the consequences, that has been rubber stamped by a Minister who has never even visited the area. In short it's a decision that drives a coach and horses through the Localism agenda."

Local Government:

The Deep End: Drugs damage cultures not just individuals

WATCH: Barack Obama warns that superstorm Sandy "is not over yet"

EU Vote Day: David Cameron under pressure from backbenchers...

“Despite misgivings in Labour ranks, senior party sources signalled that Ed Miliband would instruct his MPs to back a Tory rebel motion calling for a real-terms reduction to the budget covering 2014-20. … At least 40 Tory MPs are already signed up to the rebel amendment demanding a cut. Eighty-one rebelled last year in calling for an immediate referendum on Britain’s EU membership.” – The Times (£)

  • “David Cameron's pro-EU charade cannot go on much longer” – Simon Jenkins, Guardian

...including David Davis...

David Davis“The EU needs to do less, and it needs to do it better. A robust approach, more focused policies and the curbing of the EU’s sillier ambitions could save European taxpayers a quarter of the budget. … So our stance must be more aggressive: we must ensure that in these times of austerity, Brussels bureaucrats shoulder at least as much of the burden as the member states during a eurozone crisis for which they are largely responsible.” - David Davis, Daily Mail

  • ...and Labour's Gisela Stuart, writing in the Times (£): We had better start thinking about what life outside the EU might look like, so that at some stage people are offered a genuine choice."....

...but the PM does have the support of Nick Clegg...

“Mr Cameron has won unlikely support from Deputy Premier Nick Clegg, who will insist in a speech today: ‘We will not accept an increase, above inflation, to the EU budget. That is a real terms freeze, and we will protect the British rebate in full. … That is the toughest position of any European country.’” – Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: Today's Commons vote is about much more than the EU budget

> Yesterday:

...although the Guardian reports that Mr Cameron has "confronted" Mr Clegg over constituational reforms

CURSE OF cLEGG"In a sign of the deterioration in relations, the prime minister vented his fury at Clegg after the Lib Dem leader authorised his peers to support a Labour move to delay plans to reduce the size of the Commons until 2018." - Guardian

Mr Cameron's adviser on digital strategy, Jonathan Luff, has moved to the payday loan firm Wonga - Daily Mail

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph about his new growth review, Lord Heseltine urges a solution on airport capacity before 2015

Lord HeseltineHere are three snippets from the article:

  • "In recommendations that are likely to surprise some of his Conservative colleagues, Lord Heseltine says that regulation, particularly from Europe, is not a major problem for British business."
  • "Mr Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, but Lord Heseltine claims that many problems blamed on Brussels are caused by civil servants 'gold-plating' directives."
  • "He says that a review of airports should report before 2015 so work can begin on a third runway at Heathrow, or an alternative option, after the next election."

And Lord Heseltine also writes a comment article for the same paper. The BBC's summarises his recommendations here.

John Hayes: No more windfarms!

John Hayes"Insisting ‘enough is enough’, John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion. … He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more. … ‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’ … Mr Hayes told the Mail he had commissioned research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and whether they drive down house prices." - Daily Mail

"On the face of it, this promises to be the beginning of an end to one of the greatest and most dangerous political delusions of our time." - Christopher Booker, Daily Mail

  • “Greg Barker accused of rowing back on David Cameron's energy tariff promise.” – Daily Telegraph

Continuing doubts about the child benefit cuts

“Mr Wade said: ‘It is particularly problematic for people who are in the range or just below the range. If they get the option of overtime and if they have got a large family then it is a waste of time doing it because they will just lose more than they’ll get paid. Or they will lose quite a percentage due to tax, National Insurance and the clawback.’” – Daily Telegraph

  • The proportion of new mothers deciding to stay at home, rather than return to work, has risen by 6 percentage points in a year - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Is David Cameron coming round to the idea of further universal benefit cuts?

Eric Pickles to consider plans for new council housing for "middle-class professionals"

Pickles“The three boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham are proposing to borrow against their “extremely valuable” housing assets to build the homes. … Today they will submit their plan for a pilot scheme of 300 homes on a new ‘middle-class’ estate to the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today on Local Government: Your chance to question Eric Pickles

Michael Gove tries to give Maths a boost

“Education Secretary Michael Gove today announced funds to create a curriculum aimed at sixth-formers who abandon maths after their GCSEs. … Youngsters would study the maths behind real-world scenarios such as the cost-effectiveness of washing machine insurance, the trustworthiness of opinion polls and the odds of lotteries being fixed.” – Daily Mail

  • Ucas head says that tougher A-levels could deter students from taking them - The Times (£)

Some of the British aid money going to Uganda wil be suspended, after worries about corruption - Daily Mail 

Tory MPs call for the beer duty escalator to be scrapped, as Brits pay ten times more beer tax than other Europeans

Pint“Tory MP Andrew Griffiths told ‘The Treasury's own figures reveal that even with the escalator it'll raise no extra revenue over the next two years, because it's hitting beer sales and encouraging people to drink other things.’” – Daily Mail

Louise Mensch writes to Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman over Austin Mitchell's "sexist comments"

“In a letter to the pair, she wrote: ‘Mr Mitchell has not deleted nor withdrawn his tweet. He is a sitting Labour MP and neither of you have said a word about his behaviour. I trust you will correct this lack of leadership at the earliest opportunity.’” – Daily Telegraph

Vince Cable's "senior moment" over meetings

Vince Cable"The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, faced embarrassment yesterday after he told MPs that a new committee set up to promote economic growth had not held any meetings – even though he attended two of them." - Independent

Mr Miliband admits that he saw a counsellor when his father died

“‘When my father died, I did go and see a counsellor, who helped me a lot with coping with that bereavement, so I think the availability of help for people in all kinds of ways is very important,’ said Mr Miliband.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Mr Miliband's night of signing autographs - Daily Mail

Labour peer Lord West warns that Britain is "sleepwalking" into another Falklands War - Sun

Alex Salmond dodges questions about whether he lied about an independent Scotland's status in the EU - Daily Telegraph

SNP's Education Minister accused of overruling experts to include more Scottish books in the curriculum - Daily Telegraph

Met Police to sell New Scotland Yard - Financial Times (£)

The Commission on Living Standards warns of "two decades of stagnant living standards"

Downturn“The Commission on Living Standards says that even if the economy recovers, around a third of the working age population – some 11million people – will be no better off in 2020 than they were in 2000. ... Among the worst hit are mothers because the cost of childcare is so high they cannot afford to go back to work." – Daily Mail

"Benefits for wealthy pensioners should be axed to free up money to help hard-working families, a report claims." - Sun

  • “Already the Labour leader is branding the 2015 showdown the ‘living standards election’." - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • “A blueprint for supporting the strivers – or barely scratching the surface?” – Larry Elliott, Guardian

> Yesterday:

Taxpayers' Alliance research finds that taxpayers stump up £113 million every year to fund the union activities of civil servants

“This amounted to £92million in paid staff time in the last year, according to research by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, along with a further £21million in direct payments to unions. … The staff figure is the equivalent of 3,000 public sector employees working full-time for trade unions, in what campaigners described as a ‘scandalous subsidy’.” – Daily Mail

> Today on Local Government: Army of state funded union officials still in place

> Yesterday on Local Government: Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidates should come clean on UNISON funding

The end of the White Van Man? Just four per cent of under-30s are entering trades that require a van - Sun

Israel postpones a strike on Iran after discussions with British spies - Sun

> Yesterday, by Ross Cypher-Burley on Comment: Cameron must remain part of the "carrot and stick" club when it comes to Iran

And finally... Could Sandy postpone the US election?


“Despite no presidential election ever being postponed, some are pointing to past precedents where voting has been delayed. … However, what is most likely is a compromise for those affected by the havoc caused by the storm. … Voting hours could be extended at various locations and in places where electronic voting machines are in use, paper ballots could be used instead.” – Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

30 Oct 2012 08:38:20

Newslinks for Tuesday 29th October 2012

7pm Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: The Reckless Amendment is not in Britain's best interests

6pm WATCH: Boris is winched aboard HMS Severn to launch London Poppy Day

5.30pm Local government: Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidates should come clean on UNISON funding

5.15pm Ross Cypher-Burley on Comment: Cameron must remain part of the "carrot and stick" club when it comes to Iran

Daily Politics4pm WATCH: Nadine Dorries and Iain Dale debate gay marriage on the Daily Politics

3.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron may not placate his backbenchers by threatening a veto now — but he might in future

1pm LeftWatch: Francis Maude should abolish the antiquated and intrusive Equality and Human Rights Commission now 

10.45am Columnist Andrew Lilico: The "inflation hawks" weren't wrong then and won't be wrong now

Winter Fuel Payments

ToryDiary: Is David Cameron coming round to the idea of further universal benefit cuts?

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The public sector still has its computer leads in a tangle

A trio of articles on Comment: 

Will Straw writes on LeftWatch: A British-led ‘Grand Bargain’ could cut the EU budget by 25%

Local Government: Green Party councillor quits

The Deep End: The global economic crisis started forty years ago

WATCH: William Hague: Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration

David Cameron's continuing dilemma over the EU Budget

Cameron"Mr Cameron has promised to try to limit the increases to around 2 per cent, but many of his Eurosceptic MPs want him to go further. ... In a Commons debate tomorrow, they will urge him to veto them altogether. ... By taking a tougher line than Mr Cameron, Mr Balls was trying to outflank the Prime Minister by creating an alliance with Tory rebels. ... However, even the most Eurosceptic Tories lined up last night to accuse the opposition of hypocrisy." - Daily Mail

"Commons sources said that by last night, more than 20 Conservative MPs had agreed to back the rebel motion when it comes to the Commons tomorrow." - Daily Telegraph

  • The vote on the EU budget gives MPs a chance to follow in the steps of Margaret Thatcher - Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

> Today, by Will Straw on LeftWatch: A British-led ‘Grand Bargain’ could cut the EU budget by 25%

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Tory MPs table motion to ensure EU budget "is reduced in real terms"

And another EU headache for the government: their child benefit cuts could fall foul of European law

"In a briefing document prepared for ministers and MPs, the [Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales] described the likely outcomes of the new system as “fundamentally incompatible with the UK’s European Treaty obligations” and therefore open to legal challenge. ... The Government said yesterday that Whitehall lawyers were confident that the child benefit changes were permitted under EU law and that any legal challenge would fail." - Daily Telegraph

  • "But there is one very big hole in the Government’s argument. If the country can no longer afford benefits for the richest parents, the same logic must also, surely, apply to pensioners." - Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: 

Mr Cameron would save money by buying, rather than renting, his white tie and tails - Daily Telegraph

Officials knew that the West Coast Main Line process was flawed, claims report

DfT"Officials knew that their internal modelling used to weigh rival bids was vulnerable to legal challenge, but in March decided to go ahead anyway, even though it meant that bidders were left with inadequate information on which to base their proposals. ... The conclusions were contained in the interim report by Sam Laidlaw, the man appointed by the Transport Secretary to learn lessons from the collapse of the franchise process. ... Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, told MPs that the report made 'uncomfortable reading'." - The Times (£)

Owen Paterson announces measures to curb the spread of tree disease

"Owen Paterson, who took on the job last month, promised the Government's swift action will 'protect our native trees' from the fungus that has killed 90 per cent of ash trees in Denmark. ... The Environment Secretary has already been accused of failing to act quickly enough, after the first case of Chalara fraxinea, known as ash dieback, was discovered at nurseries in the UK in February." - Daily Telegraph

Chris Grayling looks into new measures to pay off criminals' legal aid bills

Grayling"Convicted criminals could have cars seized and assets frozen to settle their legal aid bills. ... Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said 'innocent taxpayers' were having to pick up the tab for lags who try to dodge paying up." - Sun

  • "More offenders will have to meet their victims and apologise before being sentenced under a rapid expansion of restorative justice unveiled on Tuesday." - Guardian

> Today, by Dominic Raab MP on Comment: The innocent shouldn't be put at risk in order to catch serious criminals

> Yesterday, in Bruce Anderson's column: "Chris Grayling, the new Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister, has settled in to his eminence and his mighty responsibilities as if they came naturally to him."

Michael Gove to scrap regulations surrounding school playing fields, despite opposition

"Challenging Mr Gove in the Commons yesterday, Nic Dakin, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, said: 'Considering the need to preserve our Olympic legacy, what does the Secretary of State have to say to those 150,000 people who signed a petition against his plans which will come into force this Wednesday to scrap minimum size regulations for school playing fields?' ... Mr Gove replied: 'I admire their passion, but they are wrong.'" - Daily Mail

William Hague meets the family of Malala Yousafzai


"Mr Hague said the teenager, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan earlier this month, had set an 'extraordinary example to everybody across the world in the cause of education and the rights of women'. ... The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by the Pakistani Interior Minister, Rehman Malik as he met the schoolgirl's father at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where his daughter is being treated." - Daily Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: William Hague: Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration

Mental health patients sectioned by unapproved doctors, admits Jeremy Hunt

NHS"Emergency laws will be rushed through Parliament after it emerged that thousands of patients were sectioned under the Mental Health Act by doctors who were not properly approved, ministers said yesterday." - The Times (£)

  • Jeremy Hunt reveals 326 blunders made by the NHS last year - Sun

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: Jeremy Hunt reveals that up to 5,000 mental health patients may have been sectioned by doctors who weren't properly approved

Report warns that the Universal Credit "risks IT meltdown" - The Times (£)

> Today's column by Peter Hoskin: The public sector still has its computer leads in a tangle

PFI problems dog the Coalition

"MPs warned last night that NHS hospitals could go bust as a result of Labour’s botched PFI deals. ... But members [of the Public Accounts Committee] also criticised the present Government for having no idea how to respond if a trust does go bankrupt and is forced to close down – saying the controversial reforms imposed on the NHS could make things worse." - Daily Mail

The Home Office failed to order Welsh ballot papers for the police commissioner elections - The Times (£)

  • "The botched launch of [police commissioners] is all too typical" - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times (£)

Philip Johnston: The Government's two-tier road tax idea is "daft"

"Assuming the reports are accurate, this is a daft idea on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start. For instance, what if you only have a local road licence but for some unexpected reason need to use the motorway or a trunk road: are you then to be fined? It would be possible to buy M-way top-ups for the occasions when it became necessary to use the higher-priced roads, but administering such a scheme would cost more than it raised." - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Charlie Elphicke urges action against foreign companies that avoid tax

Elphicke"American companies making billions of pounds of profit in Britain are paying an effective tax rate to the Treasury of only 3 per cent, according to analysis by an MP. ... Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, has called on George Osborne to force companies such as Google, Coca-Cola and Apple to have to state the effective rate of tax they pay on their UK revenues. Government contracts should be withheld from multinationals that did not pay their fair share of tax, he said." - The Times (£)

Nick Clegg strikes back over Trident

"Mr Hammond, the Defence Secretary, announced £350 million to design a replacement to the Trident missile programme in what he claimed was a demonstration of the government’s 'very clear' commitment to Britain’s nuclear deterrent. ... However, the Deputy Prime Minister warned that the Tories had promised there would be no decision on whether to build a new generation of submarines to carry nuclear weapons until 2016." - Daily Telegraph

  • Polly Toynbee: Ed Miliband should forge a third way over Trident - Polly Toynbee, Guardian

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair proposes a directly-elected President of Europe

"The former prime minister, who would be a leading candidate for such a post, said a president was needed as part of a ‘grand bargain’ to save the eurozone from its debt nightmare." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Whatever his motivations, Tony Blair has highlighted some of the most important questions facing European leaders

Anger over Austin Mitchell's jibe against Louise Mensch

Mitchell"Mr Mitchell tweeted: 'Shut up Menschkin. A good wife doesn’t disagree with her master in public and a good little girl doesn’t lie about why she quit politics.' ... The comments drew an angry response from Twitter users, who accused the MP for Grimsby of sexism." - The Times (£)

Scottish Labour call on the SNP to pay back £12,000 of public money spent on a court battle to avoid legal advice being published - BBC

Expenses watchdog chief benefits from "off-payroll" financial arrangements 

"The head of the watchdog monitoring MPs’ expenses is being paid up to £169,000 a year in an ‘off-payroll’ deal allowing her to reap huge tax benefits, it can be revealed. ... Earlier this year Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander condemned similar ‘off-payroll’ arrangements saying they aided ‘tax avoidance’." - Daily Mail

Bank of England official claims that the Occupy movement was "right" about the problems in the global financial system - Daily Telegraph

Richard Littlejohn: "No nation which brings the Press under State control can call itself a proper democracy" - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

Public trust in the BBC has fallen below 50 per cent following the Savile scandal - Daily Mail

Britain comes 13th in the Legatum Institute's Prosperity Index - Daily Telegraph

> Today on Comment: Nathan Gamester: In the global race to succeed, Britain is picking up speed

Online poll suggests that Brits require £4,400 a month to "live in luxury" - Daily Mail

Rupert Shortt: Christians are now being persectuted throughout the world - Rupert Shortt, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Sell Lambeth Palace. Stop the politics. Shed the vestments. Tory MP Gary Streeter's manifesto for the next Archbishop of Canterbury

And finally... Big Ben could be hired out as a film set

Big Ben

"MPs want to charge production companies to gain access to the landmark as part of plans to raise an extra £3million a year by making the Palace of Westminster ‘operate more commercially as a visitor attraction’. ... The clock has played a central role in many films – most notably the 1978 version of the Thirty Nine Steps, in which the hero is seen hanging from its hands – but cameras are not usually allowed inside the tower itself." - Daily Mail

  • MPs will no longer receive free hardback volumes of Hansard, in effort to cut costs - The Times (£)


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

29 Oct 2012 08:31:28

Newslinks for Monday 29th October 2012

7.15pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt reveals that up to 5,000 mental health patients may have been sectioned by doctors who weren't properly approved

5pm Mark Field MP on Comment: The child benefit changes will penalise aspiration — and for little gain

4.15pm LeftWatch: Whatever his motivations, Tony Blair has highlighted some of the most important questions facing European leaders

Street light4.15pm Local government: Scare mongering over street lighting reduction not backed by evidence

2.30pm ToryDiary: Whatever happened to all the intra-Coalition concessions?

12.30pm WATCH: Philip Hammond moves towards the "next stage" on Trident renewal

10.30am MPsETC: Tory MPs table motion to ensure EU budget "is reduced in real terms"

ToryDiary: The Government is fighting for child benefit cuts — so why is it leaving other universal benefits alone?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: This Government is standing firm on its policies, but it must do better on the politics


James Morris MP on Comment: If localism is to succeed, then we must avoid more legislation and central initiatives

Local Government: Councils face transparency requirement on parking charges

The Deep End: China’s economic civil war

WATCH: Barack Obama warns Americans to take Hurricane Sandy "very seriously"

David Cameron faces an EU budget bust-up

EU"In a sign that Mr Cameron risks being outflanked from left and right, two members of the Shadow Cabinet and Dr Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, have called on him to stop any extra money flowing to Brussels over the next seven years. The move would see the EU’s budget, which amounts to about €129.1 billion this year, falling in real terms. ... Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, and Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, write in The Times today that: 'Labour will argue against the proposed increase in EU spending and instead support a real-terms cut in the budget.'" - The Times (£)

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Labour call for cut in EU budget in sign that they are ready to play Eurosceptic card against Cameron

As the PM puts Jeremy Heywood in charge of the Government's campaign to protect the Union

"The Times understands that 13 senior Whitehall teams have been told to draw up dossiers on how Scotland would be worse off on its own. In a sign of the importance that Downing Street has placed on upholding the Union, Sir Jeremy, who has become one of David Cameron’s most trusted advisers, is overseeing the project. He won the Prime Minister’s trust serving as his Permanent Secretary and is understood to have had input into key decisions over the Leveson inquiry and welfare reform." - The Times (£)

Tory-commissioned poll shows support for George Osborne's child benefit cuts (as a report highlights the cost of childcare)

OSborne"The poll shows the policy is supported by 82% of those surveyed, 78% of people with children under 18 and 74% of households earning over £69,000. ... The study by the Resolution Foundation, due to be published as part of a wider study into living standards this week, suggests a family with two children in which two earners bring in a total of £44,000 could end up just £4,000 better off than a single family earning £20,000 less." - Guardian

  • Melanie Phillips: Why should the state pay for women on benefits to have more than two children? - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: The Government is fighting for child benefit cuts — but why is it leaving other universal benefits alone?

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: 

Another report suggests that the planned 3p rise in fuel duty could cost the economy around £1 billion

Robert Halfon"Petrol price campaigners will present the Treasury with an analysis by economists on Monday showing a 3p rise in duty would cost the economy at least £1 billion - substantially more than the £800 million in tax it would bring in. ... Robert Halfon, the MP for Harlow and petrol campaigner, believes the rise due for January next year will cost families £60 a year in petrol costs alone." - Daily Telegraph

  • The Government is considering a "two-tier" road tax system - Daily Telegraph

A group of academics warns Mr Osborne that ending national pay bargaining could widen social and economic inequality - The Times (£)

And the Chancellor may struggle to secure money for infrastructure spending from pension funds - Financial Times (£)

Airport bosses unimpressed by the political dithering over airport capacity - Independent

Philip Hammond takes on the Lib Dems and Alex Salmond over Trident 

"Hammond, who succeeded Liam Fox as defence secretary in October last year, will frame the announcement of extra spending on a possible Trident replacement as a boost for those opposing an independent Scotland, as the successor project sustains hundreds of jobs on the Clyde. ... To drive home the point, Hammond will announce government plans to make Faslane [in Scotland] the base for the UK's fleet of nuclear-powered but conventionally armed Astute and Trafalgar class attack submarines, as well as for Trident." - Guardian

  • Law officers have told Mr Salmond that an independent Scotland's membership of the EU may not be automatic - Daily Telegraph

Eric Pickles speaks out against statutory regulation of the press

Pickles"Despite David Cameron’s insistence that ministers should not be seen to pre-empt the Leveson report, due next month, Mr Pickles joined senior Conservatives including London Mayor Boris Johnson and culture committee chairman John Whittingdale in opposing any statutory system. ... ‘I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right." - Daily Mail

  • "We will always need a real and not a virtual Guardian" - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Chris Grayling stands firm against the ECHR

"Mr Grayling insisted there were clear precedents for countries defying edicts from the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared Britain’s ban on prisoners taking part in elections illegal. ... He signalled that the Government is preparing to hold a Commons vote in which MPs will reject reversal of the policy, paving the way for a stand-off between Westminster and Strasbourg." - Daily Mail

  • "New Justice Secretary Chris Grayling again talks good sense on Europe." - Sun editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Grayling opens door to human rights reform becoming key plank of the Conservatives' General Election campaign

New "snooping powers" could still be used to combat minor crimes, despite government assurances

"Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has told MPs that the powers could be justified when investigating incidents such as fly tipping and that setting a 'crime threshold' would be difficult." - Daily Telegraph

Lord Heseltine's report on economic growth "expected to lead to a clash with the Coalition" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on Local government: Heseltine's call for council reorganisation is likely to be rebuffed

Liam Fox argues that the eurozone crisis could push people towards extremism

Liam Fox

"Liam Fox, one of the party’s most prominent Eurosceptics, will call for Britain to have a 'new looser relationship' with the European Union – and forecast anger and violence within member states if it is not overhauled." - Independent

Louise Mensch denies her husband's claim that she stood down in fear of a general election defeat

"'Nothing, repeat nothing, influenced decision to resign other than inability to hold family life together away from him,' she said. 'Can honestly say I had no fear whatsoever of defeat at next election since had already decided not to stand again.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Tory campaign in Corby deploys newspaper for churchgoers

Tim Montgomerie: Gary Streeter's plan for the Church of England is simple but compelling

Tim Times

"No big palace. No robes and vestments. No talking about sex. No partisan politics. Mr Streeter’s plan is not the most sophisticated ever devised. But its childlike, raw simplicity is its most compelling characteristic. If the central figure of Christianity didn’t need big buildings, unusual clothes, moral censoriousness or political profile, why do his contemporary representatives? Perhaps simple reforms that were ignored when the Church was superficially strong now retain that raw simplicity but have the added virtue of existential necessity." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Ian Birrell: The Tory retreat on climate change is senseless

"Cameron has not given a speech on the environment since taking office. Yet along with health, this was the issue most personally identified with his transformation of the Tories. We saw the damage caused by bungled health reforms; imagine the dismay and distrust caused by shooting badgers, stopping wind farms, supporting airport expansion and strangling the green economy." - Ian Birrell, Guardian

Jeff Randall: Ignore the economic doom-mongers, Britain is finally heading back towards prosperity - Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg to announce new growth packages for cities

"The second wave of 'city deals' Clegg is due to announce follow a first phase in which England's biggest cities apart from London were given greater flexibility on spending in return for performance commitments. ... The deals include powers to 'earn back' tax from the Treasury, and devolved transport and skills budgets." - Guardian

Danny Alexander says (again) that the Treasury will do more to combat tax avoidance

"Pressed about tax avoidance on BBC One’s Sunday Politics, Mr Alexander said: 'We are investing more money in HMRC so they have the resources to go after the tax dodgers to make sure their affairs are in order. Whether you are a big company, a wealthy individual [or] someone who thinks you can get away with not playing the rules, the message from this Government is very, very clear — we’re coming to get you.'" - The Times (£)

Ed Miliband to round on those who demean the mentally ill

Miliband"Speaking at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he will say fighting those who discriminate against mentally illness is similar to the battle against sexism, racism and homophobia. ... The speech will build on Mr Miliband’s new theme of 'one nation' politics aimed at uniting people across social divides." - Daily Telegraph

  • Ed Miliband needs a clear economic alternative - Jackie Ashley, Guardian

In a letter to the Times, John Prescott accuses the PM's policing adviser of a "personal political attack" - The Times (£)

Cherie Blair's "Exocet" attack on Jacques Chirac helped Britain win the Olympics, claims Lord Coe - The Times (£)

James Purnell: Britain needs an adaptive internet policy - James Purnell, The Times (£)

What sort of wine do MPs want? Only wine that is "not widely available on the High Street," according to a Parliamentary tender advert - Sun

The NHS lost track of 1.8 million patient records in a year - Daily Mail

Schoolgirls as young as 13 have been given contraceptive injections and implants without their parents' knowledge - Daily Telegraph

Almost five million Brits are paid less than the living wage - Guardian

And finally... a study suggests that — surprise, surprise — we prefer to hate our politicians

"A phrase such as 'I don't like Obama' is likely to be more strongly held than a positive view such as 'I like Romney', the study by the British Journal of Social Psychology found. ... And once we hold a negative opinion it is only like to strengthen over time. This is in direct contrast to positive thoughts." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's question for The Jury: Who should be the next US President? Romney or Obama?


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

28 Oct 2012 09:02:22

Newslinks for Sunday 28th October 2012


9.30pm LeftWatch: Labour calls for cut in EU budget in sign that they are ready to play Eurosceptic card against Cameron

8pm ToryDiary: You've got to love Peter Oborne but he's wrong, wrong, wrong about Lynton Crosby

7pm MPsETC: Tory campaign in Corby deploys newspaper for churchgoers

2pm ToryDiary: Thatcher seen as most competent of living Prime Ministers and Brixton's John Major as least out of touch

10.15am ToryDiary: Grayling opens door to human rights reform becoming key plank of the Conservatives' General Election campaign

ToryDiary: Are voters more sensible than political journalists? The narrowing opinion polls suggest they might be...

Dorries Nadine HIGNFYColumnist Nadine Dorries MP: There does reach a point when the right to the life of a baby takes precedence over the mother’s right to choose

Nick Viner on Comment: An introduction to Conservative Friends of Pakistan

Local government: Heseltine's call for council reorganisation is likely to be rebuffed

The Jury: Who should be the next US President? Romney or Obama?

WATCH: I prefer Andrew Neil! Chloe Smith MP remembers her Newsnight grilling by Jeremy Paxman

Lord Heseltine's 80 page growth report to be published

HESELTINE-MICHAEL-NNThe Sunday Telegraph previews some of its recommendations:

  • "reforms in tax credits to encourage businesses to spend more money on research and development as well as measures to boost the skills of British workers;
  • dramatic boost to the Regional Growth Fund, a £1bn pot of money set up by the Coalition to help businesses “in the parts of the country that need it the most”;
  • expanding the role and funding on offer to Local Enterprise Partnerships, organisations comprised of business people and local authority staff;
  • scrapping dozens of district councils to creat a simple structure of local government."

> Local government today: Heseltine's call for council reorganisation is likely to be rebuffed

Tory Free Enterprise Group calls for 40p tax threshold to be increased to £50,000

"David Cameron last night came under pressure from Tory MPs to live up to his promise to  help the nation's 'strivers' – by cutting taxes for hard-pressed middle-class families. The Prime Minister was urged to 'reconnect' with Middle England and exempt anyone earning up to £50,000 from the 40p tax band. It currently kicks in at just under £42,500." - Mail on Sunday

  • £50,000 taxpayers rush to get help from accountants to avoid child benefit clawback - Observer
  • Are the rich paying a higher share of tax under the Coalition? - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday can't get clear answers

Ken Clarke backtracks after implying marriage tax break was unlikely to be delivered - Scotland on Sunday

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ken Clarke dismisses the prospect of marriage tax breaks before 2015, and warns of "very reckless" Euroscepticism

The Number 10 operation

10 Downing St 470

  • The return of political guru Lynton Crosby would signal the defeat of everything the PM stands for - Peter Oborne in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Too relaxed, too convivial - Iain Martin's verdict on Cameron's inner team - The Sunday Telegraph

CAMERON COLOURMeanwhile... Cameron told by his Downing Street pollster that he's only 6% behind Labour - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

The latest YouGov/ Sunday Times poll has the Tory lead down to 7%.

Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times (£) wonders if the worst is over for the Coalition: "the coalition government is presiding over the least unhappy population since it came to power 2Å years ago. Even while the GDP measure was shrinking — the double-dip recession — there had been months of employment growth (which made many economists doubt the veracity of those GDP figures); and the consumer price index is now at 2.2%, down from 5.2% 12 months ago."

The unlovely Conservative Party?

"In the latest polling the blues had the worst figures of all three main parties with 60% saying they didn’t like the party against just 35% saying they did. The Lib Dems, by contrast, had 52% dislike to 40% like. The Labour figures were 42% dislike to 51% like." - Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting

Forestry Commission warn that cuts limit their ability to save Britain's ash trees - Independent on Sunday

Redwood John Oct 11 2Eurosceptics are not right-wingers but democrats who have seen just how much damage the Euro and false political union can do to the peoples of Europe - John Redwood

The Centre for Social Justice warns that Cameron's war on gang crime is being lost - Observer | Sunday Times (£)

Tory MP Rob Wilson raises questions about true independence of BBC's Savile inquiry - Sunday Express

  • Lord Patten is the last man I'd choose to clean up the BBC - Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph
  • "The tragedy of the BBC's slow response to the Savile scandal following the ITV broadcast is that it allows a groundswell of critics to build a case for the demolition or fragmentation of the corporation, which would be a disaster." - Janet Street-Porter in the Independent on Sunday
  • Nick Ferrari blasts the high executive pay of failing BBC management - Sunday Express

Louise Mensch resigned as MP for Corby because she knew she would be heavily defeated at the next election, according to her husband - The Sunday Times (£)

DARLING ALISTAIR 2Alastair Darling delighted at Alex Salmond's very bad week

"Sitting in his constituency office in the west end of Edinburgh, Darling is mulling over a week that began with two MSPs quitting the SNP and ended with Salmond caught up in an almighty row that has ­severely dented his credibility. The loss of two MSPs did not reflect well on Salmond, but it was the accusation that he had lied about an independent Scotland’s European Union membership that Darling claims has “knocked” the First Minister “off his pedestal” as self-styled father of the nation." - Scotland on Sunday

  • Scottish Secretary Moore demands an "honest debate" from the SNP, claiming the recent row over EU legal advice showed the Nationalists were out of touch with reality - Sunday Herald

"Why hand the keys back to the guys who drove the car into the ditch?"


- Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer says it is already obvious how the Tories weill attack Labour

"It is now 25 days since  I asked Edward Miliband’s office if he had received private tuition while at his comprehensive school. Why am I still waiting for an answer?" - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday

Labour's Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex targets the energy giants' profits

"The average cost of gas and electricity for households in the UK is now more than £1,300 a year, and has increased by £200 in the last two years. When you consider that the owner of Scottish Gas made £1.45bn in profit in the first half of 2012 alone, it is difficult for consumers to understand why they are paying through the roof to keep their homes warm as winter approaches." - Tom Greatrex in Scotland on Sunday

Brown_launchGordon Brown wins election... as most incompetent living PM

"Brown, who left office in 2010, was named by 43% of respondents as the most incompetent of the five leaders since 1979. The percentage was more than double the 17% scored by David Cameron, who was in second place. The result suggests that, despite the recent string of bungles by the coalition — ranging from the pasty tax U-turn to the debacle over the west coast main line rail franchise — voters still remember Brown as the prime minister under whose rule the economy crashed." - The Sunday Times (£)

MPs have doubled spending on overseas trips

"Globe-trotting MPs have DOUBLED their spending on exotic junkets — despite being told to slash costs. They splashed out £852,000 on “fact-finding” trips to far-off locations. The huge bill for flights, luxury hotels and meals was run up by members of Commons select committees. In the past year they went to Brazil, Australia and Costa Rica at taxpayers’ expense. The bill is almost TWICE the £474,000 spent the previous year when Commons Speaker John Bercow vowed to crack down on foreign jaunts." - The Sun

The Sun Says: "Thousands of families have been forced to cut back on luxuries like holidays because their finances are stretched to the limit by the rising costs of food and fuel. For many, a couple of weeks sunbathing on a foreign beach has been replaced by a day at the seaside. Learning that their MPs are jetting around the world at taxpayers’ expense will not only infuriate voters."

"The number of hungry Brits relying on emergency charity food handouts to survive has soared, figures reveal. Nearly 110,000 people turned to the Trussell Trust from April to September — compared to 132,660 for the entire previous 12 months." - The Sun

Childcare cost are now so large that taking a full-time job has become almost pointless for a growing numbers of “second earners” in middle and low-income families - The Sunday Telegraph

Francois Hollande is likened to an amateur by opponents and holds crisis talks after bad economic news - Observer

And finally...


"Michael Gove claims that his new Joe 90-style spectacles – said by unkind souls to make him look like cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, spoof agent Austin Powers or even Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow –  are all part of his attempt to stop people listing him as a future prospect for the Tory leadership. ‘They are my leadership vasectomy,’ the Education Secretary,  left, coyly insists." - Mail on Sunday's Black Dog


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

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