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Newslinks for Thursday 18th October 2012

7.45pm ToryDiary Update: How David Cameron could make a success of Twitter

5.45pm WATCH: David Cameron: We ARE going to make sure customers get the "lowest" energy tariffs

5.30pm MPsETC: John Baron MP secures Commons backing in his campaign to save the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

5.15pm Majority Conservatism: The need for sustained and strategic attacks on Labour's economic agenda and its values

John Hayes

3pm WATCH: John Hayes says there are "a number of options being considered" to lower energy tariffs

2pm ToryDiary: The confusion over Cameron's energy promise comes at a particularly inconvenient time

Noon ToryDiary: After the truce in Birmingham, Boris starts fighting again over London

10.30am WATCH: Policy Exchange's party conference event "Reconsidering Thatcherism"

TwitterToryDiary: How David Cameron could make a success of Twitter

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Three things the abortion debate isn't about

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: My verdict on the life and times of Rupert Murdoch

Marc Glendening on Comment: Let’s be clear, Cameron is only talking about an in-in referendum

Majority Conservatism: The Conservative Party needs to build a new machine for getting out the vote and voter contact

Local Government: Coventry Council rejects chance for two new primary schools

The Deep End: Britain’s membership of the European Union – is it time to quit the Muppet Show?

David Cameron's new energy policy under question

"The Prime Minister told the Commons yesterday: ‘We will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers.’ ... Downing Street said the new law, the details of which will be revealed in next month’s Energy Bill, would put an ‘obligation’ on firms to put customers on the best deal to suit their circumstances. ... However, one company warned that the move could damage competition because companies could axe their best deals and give every customer the same rate." - Daily Mail

> From yesterday: 

Mr Cameron to unveil his plan for an EU referendum

Cameron"Cameron’s plan is, before Christmas, to commit to a referendum after the next election. The Cameroons hope that this will be enough to satisfy the party’s Eurosceptics. Conservative strategists believe such a move would check Ukip’s advance. The prospect of Nigel Farage’s merry band pushing the Conservatives into third place in the European elections in 2014 sends many of them into cold sweat, and worse." - James Forsyth, The Spectator

  • If the Euro survives, how will Britain fit into the new federal state? - Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph
  • "Many Conservative ministers now believe within their heart of hearts that Britain’s future is outside the European Union. They are not making anti-European noises just because of tactical reasons to do with Ukip, parliamentary management, or to enhance their personal popularity. They are doing so out of deeply felt belief." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • Lord Mandelson warns Mr Cameron against an "irreversible break" with Europe - The Times (£)

> Today:

And the PM is "concerned" at Boris's threat of legal action over airport capacity

"The Prime Minister was said to have been 'concerned' when the Mayor of London informed him he was considering taking the government to court during a phone call last Friday evening. ... A source said the Mayor wanted faster progress to be made. A High Court judge could be asked to review the government’s decision to establish the Davies review, and the proposed 2015 timetable, on the grounds that the Mayor should have been more fully consulted, the source said." - Daily Telegraph

Mr Cameron and Nick Boles to act against unwieldy planning regulations

Nick Boles"The Prime Minister will today set out the publication of a new Growth and Infrastructure Bill to unlock billions of investment and create thousands of new jobs. ... The package includes measures to allow developers to change planning consents without lengthy consultation and a £160 million investment in a new gas network. ... Separately Planning minister Nick Boles unveiled plans to cut the number of pages of planning guidance from 6,000 pages to as few as 1,200 pages." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Boris Johnson has waded into the row over larger home extensions by warning that it could lead to 'garden grabbing' in London" - The Times (£)

George Osborne has started referring to Parliamentary climate change campaigners as "the environmental Taliban" - Independent

Andrew Mitchell "effectively put on probation", as John Randall is talked out of quitting

Mitchell"The Chief Whip was effectively put on probation as he was ordered to try to ‘rebuild relations’ with MPs furious at the controversy caused by his row with Downing Street police. ... Mr Mitchell’s deputy John Randall had to be talked out of quitting last night, and sources said at least one other whip – whose job is to maintain party discipline –was considering resigning rather than work under him." - Daily Mail

  • Mr Mitchell criticised by Tory MPs - Daily Telegraph
  • David Cameron defends Andrew Mitchell's decision to send £16 million of aid money to Rwanda - Daily Mail

> From yesterday:

Drugs for at least six illnesses recommended for National Health Service patients are being used at lower levels than expected, says report - Financial Times (£)

Ken Clarke argues in support of statutory press control

In his letter to the [Leveson] inquiry, sent in July but apparently only published by the inquiry yesterday, Mr Clarke wrote: “I am not convinced, though, that a statutory underpinning of some kind would amount to state control of the press. ... This is not my endorsement necessarily for a statutory backing, but simply an observation that it would not be the freedom of expression Armageddon some commentators would have you believe.” - The Times (£)

Mark Hoban lauds the "real landmark" reached in yesterday's employment figures

Employment"More people are working in Britain than at any time since records began, official figures revealed yesterday. ... The number in work jumped by 510,000 over the last year to just under 30million, the Office for National Statistics said. ... Employment Minister Mark Hoban hailed the highest number employed since 1971 as a 'real landmark'." - Daily Mail

> From yesterday:

The setting of Libor will become a regulated activity, announces the Treasury - Financial Times (£)

> From yesterday, by Robert Buckland MP on Comment: Our approach to tackling serious and complex fraud needs a reassessment 

Tory Party under attack for allowing the payday loan company Wonga to pay for access to ministers during a "speed dating" event at party conference - Daily Mail

John Bercow trying to block the release of expenses details

Bercow"John Bercow has written to the expenses regulator warning him not to disclose official documents that show the identities of MPs’ landlords for 'security' reasons. ... Publication of the names, which was supposed to take place today, would expose the extent to which MPs are exploiting a loophole in the rules that allows politicians to rent their homes to one another. The loophole means that MPs can still effectively build up property nest eggs at taxpayers’ expense, despite official attempts to stop the practice following the expenses scandal." - Daily Telegraph

Dominic Grieve apologises for remark about gay people that was "illustrative of the prejudices of others" - Sun

The government looks towards introducing a charge for plastic bags — urged on by Zac Goldsmith

"Farming Minister David Heath suggested ministers may finally take action, saying the Government thought the effect of charges in Wales ‘looks very positive’. And Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said the nation was heading in the ‘wrong direction’ over plastic bags, which he slammed as ‘extraordinarily wasteful’. Every year 8billion bags are thrown away in Britain, where they take hundreds of years to decompose." - Daily Mail

David Davis and Rowan Atkinson unite against rules that outlaw "insulting words and behaviour"

"The Blackadder and Mr Bean star criticised the ‘new intolerance’ behind controversial legislation which outlaws ‘insulting words and behaviour’. ... Launching a fight for part of the Public Order Act to be repealed, he said it was having a ‘chilling effect on free expression and free protest’. ... Former shadow home secretary David Davis, a leading campaigner for civil liberties, said: ‘The simple truth is that in a free society, there is no right not to be offended.’" - Daily Mail

In The Spectator, Tim Montgomerie and Matthew Parris debate how the Conservatives can win the next election

Spectator"In short, even if (as Tim may think) the fellow at the right-hand end of the seesaw is heavier than the fellow at the left-hand end, and heavier than the fellow standing on its fulcrum in the centre, it’s that fellow in the centre whose support is critical if we are to tip things the right’s way." - Matthew Parris, The Spectator

"The Tory leader needs to stop worrying about appealing to Matthew’s mythical voter, sat in the middle of a left-right scale that exists only in the mind of a social scientist. He needs to see that voters haven’t rejected the Conservatives because of Europe, crime, immigration or tax. On the contrary, they agree with Tory views on all of those issues. ... They look in our eyes and don’t think we will catch them if they fall." - Tim Montgomerie, The Spectator

> Today on Majority Conservatism: The Conservative Party needs to build a new machine for getting out the vote and voter contact

> From yesterday:

The FT's Chris Giles: How much has austerity really cost?

"Investment could be weak either because inflation has hit household budgets, because government is retrenching, because the eurozone is a mess, or because companies cannot secure finance. ... I don’t know which is true. Nor do I know how you could answer that question. Even if it is a relatively small effect, it is the important outstanding question in determining the effect of deficit reduction on Britain’s economy. Blaming anything else on austerity does not add up." - Chris Giles, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The public finances under Margaret Thatcher and under the Coalition — compared

Louise Mensch: Johnson v Gove is the Tory rivalry you need to watch

Louise Mensch"Journalists who want to read the succession tea leaves should put down the Bullingdon photo and scour the archives of the Oxford Union. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Gove were presidents. This speaks to enormous ambition likely to last a lifetime. Mr Johnson’s has been noticed; Mr Gove’s has not." - Louise Mensch, The Times (£)

Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson attacks the idea of female "quotas" for business

"Asked how quotas would affect the economy, Ms Swinson referred to a study indicating that 'mandatory quotas to increase the number of women on corporate boards has negatively affected business performance'. ... She said this may be because 'quotas have led firms to recruit women board members that were less experienced than the existing directors'." - Daily Telegraph

Alan Milburn says that the Coalition's decision to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowance was a "very bad mistake" - Guardian

David Miliband: Labour must look to make public services more felixible and less costly - Guardian

After being snubbed by the Prime Minister in PMQs, Chris Bryant describes David Cameron as " like an agitated 15th century Pope" - Chris Bryant, Independent

Frank Field: "Means-tested benefits can promote the worst side of human nature"

Frank Field"Means testing is slowly killing the insurance principle. Through means testing, welfare in this country is now provided primarily on the basis of need rather than contribution. ... Gordon Brown’s means-tested tax credits and their logical successor, Iain Duncan Smith’s means-tested universal credit, institutionalise this change." - Frank Field, The Sun

As the SNP conference begins, a poll suggests that support for Scottish independence is fading

"[Ipsos MORI poll] shows that support for independence now stands at 30 per cent among those Scots certain to vote, down from 35 per cent in June and 39 per cent at the end of January." - The Times

  • Alex Salmond's troubles over Trident and an independent Scotland's Nato membership - Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday, by our columnist Andrew Lilico: The Hayekian argument for Scottish independence

Aides to Prince Charles say that it is his "right and absolute duty" to correspond with politicians - Daily Mail

  • The Prince of Wales must be free to give his opinions - Jack Straw, Daily Telegraph
  • The Attorney-General’s specious reasons for not publishing Prince Charles’s letters are beyond parody - David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

Fifteen British nationals are suspected of being part of an Islamist training camp in Syria - Daily Mail

The number of foreign nationals trafficked into the UK for the sex trade or for slave labour has increased by a third over the past year - Sun

Poll finds that just one in seven women desribe themselves as a "feminist" - Daily Mail

The number of British schools opening abroad has doubled over the past ten years - Daily Mail

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