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Newslinks for Sunday 7th October 2012

8.30pm WATCH: Grant Shapps tells Michael Crick that his former work testimonials were genuine

6pm WATCH:

3.30pm Julian Mann on Comment: A Christian argument for cutting the higher rate of tax

11.45am Tory Diary Update With Osborne ruling out a mansion tax, what will Clegg do on welfare reform?

Screen shot 2012-10-07 at 11.48.2910.45am ToryDiary: Cameron pitches to strivers - and hints at crackdown on EU migrants - in Marr interview

ToryDiary:

Lord Ashcroft's first Conference Diary of the week: What, he asks, have I done to upset Grant Shapps?

Columnist Nadine Dorries: Number 10 is simply throwing red meat to Christians over abortion - it will not reduce the limit

Cllr Nickie Aiken on Local Government: The forgotten partner – Safer Deals to complement City Deals

Pre-conference interviews 1) Osborne rules out a mansion tax and new council tax bands

George Osborne headshot"‘We are not going to have a mansion tax, or a new tax that is a percentage value of people’s properties,’ he said…Likewise, adding a new council tax band for big houses was a ‘tax snoopers charter’…Council tax is to be frozen for a third year in a row – a move worth £80 a year for the average Band D council tax payer – and rail fare rises will be limited to four per cent, worth £45 to the average season ticket holder." - Mail on Sunday

Osborne interview in full

  • The economy is healing - Philip Hammond interview, The Observer

> Today: With Osborne ruling out a mansion tax, what will Clegg do on welfare reform?

Pre-conference interviews 2) Cameron confirms third year of council tax freeze and on per cent cap on rail fare hikes...

"Despite months of pummelling from critics on all sides, the PM insists he has NOT lost touch with working Britain. To prove it, he uses an exclusive interview with The Sun today to unveil a double-barrelled boost for commuters and earners — a one per cent cap on crippling train fare hikes and another year’s council tax freeze. Speaking ahead of the Tory party conference which starts in Birmingham today, the fired-up PM told us: “It has been a difficult year…Never mind a difficult year for me — it is a difficult year for Britain." - Sun on Sunday

Pre-conference interviews 3) ...And says that he may veto EU budget plan

"The Prime Minister also vows today to use Britain’s veto, if necessary, to block “outrageous” attempts to increase the European Union’s overall budget in upcoming negotiations to set total spending for the years 2014 to 2020. “If it comes to saying 'no’ to a deal that isn’t right for Britain, I’ll say 'no’, he declares. He also puts forward a “bold thinking” plan for the EU to have two separate budgets - one for the 17 nations in the eurozone and another for the 10 outside it, including Britain. This could potentially save the UK money - but would effectively set up a two-tier Europe." - Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: Christopher Howarth on Comment: Birmingham - three things Cameron should say on Europe and three he should not

Pre-conference interviews 4) Theresa May says Government may slap visa controls on EU migrants

May Theresa Home Office
"Visa controls to prevent an influx of immigrants from some European Union countries are being considered by the Tories in a move that challenges one of the fundamental tenets of the EU. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Theresa May, the home secretary, says the EU’s freedom of movement directive, which guarantees the right of its 500m citizens to travel freely within the EU, should be reviewed. She is concerned that EU expansion and unfettered freedom to travel could lead to big levels of economic migration. Work restrictions on migrants from Romania and Bulgaria are lifted next year, with experts forecasting an influx of jobseekers." - Sunday Times (£)

Screen shot 2012-10-07 at 08.29.58A plan to win in 2015 - Today's first ConservativeHome newspaper of conference

  • ConHome poll finds that Conservatives aren't seen as a Nasty Party but as a Party For The Rich - Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary - Nearly everything you've ever read about 'the Tory brand problem' is wrong

> Yesterday: WATCH - Why do the Conservatives struggle in the North? The BBC investigates...

Pickles to give town halls new powers to prevent travellers from setting up illegal caravan sites that can escalate into costly, violent eviction battles under new council powers - Sunday Express

Shapps says being told he had cancer puts problems in perspective - Sunday Express

James Forsyth: Why Downing Street's strategists think the Prime Minister can win

"First, they think the Nineties phenomenon of ‘shy Tories’ – people not being prepared to say they are voting for the party – has returned…Second, they are confident that incumbency gives them an advantage…Third, they think they can be more targeted. In 2010, the Tories were trying to take 160 seats. This time, they are looking at just 40. I’m told the list will include more than ten Lib Dem seats." - James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

  • Harman's cunning plan: twin shadow ministers with MP hopefuls to win Tory marginals - Independent on Sunday

Will Boris try to destabilise Cameron this week?

BorisCameron
"Boris Johnson is in talks with a nervous Downing Street about what he can say at the Tory party conference amid fears that he will use his whirlwind visit to upstage David Cameron. The London mayor begins his conference appearances tomorrow evening in Birmingham with an address to 800 activists entitled “Boris Johnson’s 2012 — re-elected and Olympotastic”.…One senior Tory said: “There is fear at No 10 that he could upstage the PM. He has been asked to clear everything, which he has reluctantly agreed to do.” - Sunday Times (£)

  • In the shires they talk of Boris - Observer
  • Mayor forced to disclose details of conversations with NI executives - Observer
  • The Cameroons need to act over Boris as if they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more - Matthew D'Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • Boris Johnson reminds Tories of what David Cameron has lost - Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

Fox: This is no time for a leadership contest

FOX GESTICULATING"Fox, who stood unsuccessfully against Cameron for the Tory leadership in 2005, said he would “never say never” when it came to his leadership ambitions but insisted: “I don’t have any at the moment.” He was uncompromising, however, when it came to those whispering against Cameron. “Any of my colleagues who have raised these issues with me gets exactly the same response: we need to get back to a debate about substance and not about personality,” he said." - Sunday Times (£)

More conference news:

  • Over 70 per cent of constituency Chairmen say: axe gay marriage plans - Sunday Telegraph
  • Bright Blue calls on David Cameron to form another coalition with Lib Dems - Observer
  • "The British people are crying out for leadership" - Jesse Norman interview, Independent on Sunday
  • Westminster Council to publish millionaire life of benefit claimant - Sunday Times (£)
  • Five Tory councils call for firms to be offered cut-price business rates for helping jobless youngsters into work - Sun on Sunday
  • Lord Carey to tell fringe meeting that gay marriage could have 'drastic' consequences including risk of polygamy - Mail on Sunday

Lord Ashcroft: The fight for the suspicious strivers

Screen shot 2012-10-07 at 08.21.43"Cameron and Miliband will be fighting over the voters I call the “Suspicious Strivers” – people who work hard to ­support their families but don’t think they get the rewards they deserve. They struggle with the rising cost of ­living but miss out on help that seems to go to others who don’t make the effort that they do…If David Cameron wants to stay on at Number 10 he needs to convince people who work hard but have little to show for it that he is on their side." - The People

More conference comment:

> Yesterday: Tory Diary - What do the Tories need to do in Birmingham? The ConHome team previews the challenges

Miliband's personal ratings jump, but Cameron still ahead

Miliband Ed Official"Topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 45%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 8%. The 14 point Labour lead reflects the bigger Labour leads we've shown in our polling since Ed Miliband's speech, and certainly suggests they've received a boost from their party conference. Turning to Ed Miliband specifically, his job approval rating is minus 9, a big jump from minus 29 last week and his highest since early in his leadership in 2010 and early 2011." - Anthony Wells, Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch - Matthew Parris notes the black hole at the heart of Ed Miliband's party

Hugh Grant directed a four-letter outburst at a senior female adviser to Harriet Harman while discussing his campaign for good conduct and ethics in the media - Mail on Sunday

Open letter to Cameron over phone hacking - Observer

Prime Minister intervened in West Coast Main Line bidding process and asked Cabinet Secretary to investigate the matter after private appeal from Sir Richard Branson - Sunday Telegraph

Hunt row 1) Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and British Pregnancy Advisory Service attack Hunt over abortion - Mail on Sunday

Hunt row 2) What should Health Secretary have said? - Iain Martin, Sunday Telegraph

> Today: Columnist Nadine Dorries MP - Number 10 is simply throwing red meat to Christians over abortion - it will not reduce the limit

Matt Hancock "rejects his official departmental photograph amid claims he thinks it is not statesmanlike enough" - Mail on Sunday

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