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31 Jan 2013 08:30:49

Newslinks for Thursday January 31st 2013

Lord AshcroftMidnight Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The Europe speech has cheered Tories... but it has not moved votes

9.45pm MPsETC: Candidates are now being selected for Cardiff North, Corby, Hazel Grove and Solihull

5.45pm Christopher Howarth on Comment: Two Unions, two borders, two islands – why the future of the EU and UK places the British Isles at a decision point

4.15pm The fourth part of our #LittleGuyConservatism series focuses on Lord Baker of Dorking... and a revolution in technical education

3.15pm WATCH: David Cameron is welcomed into Libya

1.45pm Local government: John Bald says The Education Select Committee is wrong to defend the GCSE

1.30pm Jeremy Lefroy MP on Comment: The case for a UK Development Bank

12.45pm Chris White MP on Comment: An Act that stands up for social value

11.30am: Candidates selected for Hampstead & Kilburn and Gower

10am ToryDiary: Dean Godson is the new Director of Policy Exchange

ToryDiary: IDS is working to tackle real poverty, not just Gordon Brown’s idea of it

Red White and BlueHenry Hill's latest Red, White and Blue column: A question of Scotland's referendum question

Matthew Groves on Comment: When it is not necessary to change it is necessary not to change

Local Government: The cost of adoption is too high

The Deep End: This is a reforming government and apprenticeships could be its greatest legacy

WATCH: "The answer is not purely a military one," says David Cameron from Algeria

From Algeria, David Cameron suggests that he'll protect the defence budget from further cuts

Cameron in Algeria"David Cameron ruled out further defence cuts last night, saying that military spending would rise in real terms after 2015. ... During a historic trip to Algeria, the Prime Minister sought to quell a mounting backlash from Tory MPs and military top brass. ... Mr Cameron’s defence pledge piles pressure on him to end protections granted to health, schools and foreign aid spending." - Daily Mail

"British special forces are set for a role in any future hostage crisis in North Africa as part of a Downing Street plan to join the 'generational struggle' against terror in the region. A deal to forge a new security pact with Algeria, which is set to allow British special forces to train its counterparts in the country, is an element of a plan to stem the terrorist threat growing from groups linked with al-Qaeda." - The Times (£)

  • "Two weeks on, that aircraft loan has been extended to three months, the 40 troops have become 330 – and yesterday, David Cameron underlined his personal commitment by visiting neighbouring Algeria. Stop, Prime Minister!" - Daily Mail leader
  • "Ignore the sniping. Mali will not be another Vietnam" - Paul Gibson, The Times (£)
  • "Cameron will have to fund his Mali adventure" - James Forsyth, Spectator
  • "...if the Government intends to make full use of our special forces, then it needs to invest in them – a message that Mr Cameron appears to be absorbing." - Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: "The answer is not purely a military one," says David Cameron from Algeria

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: David Cameron slaps down George Galloway over Syria

The MoD's shopping list

Shopping list"The Ministry of Defence has revealed how it intends to spend £160bn over the next decade on new weapons systems, including a fleet of Trident nuclear missile submarines, two large aircraft carriers, helicopters, armoured vehicles, and unmanned drones." - Guardian

  • "Forces heroes caught in the latest devastating round of Army job cuts have been given a Sunemployment lifeline after top firms pledged to provide over 20,000 jobs for them" - The Sun

Iain Duncan Smith's ideas for broadening out the definition of child poverty

"In a speech today, he will suggest broader ways of calculating child poverty – including whether or not parents are in work, educational failure, family breakdown, problem debt, gambling and poor health. .... In remarks ahead of the speech, the Work and Pensions Secretary said Labour had ‘spent an unprecedented amount of money in their pursuit of child poverty targets, with some £170billion paid out in tax credits alone’ – but still missed their aim of halving child poverty." - Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiaryIDS is working to tackle real poverty, not just Gordon Brown’s idea of it

George Osborne's pessismistic quip: "In three years’ time we will be sitting around the shadow cabinet table"

Storm clouds"One minister urged Mr Cameron to act promptly on the plans, saying: ‘We don’t want to be sitting around the Cabinet table having this conversation in three years’ time.’ ... At that point Mr Osborne piped up: ‘In three years’ time we will be sitting around the shadow cabinet table.’ ... Those present said the Chancellor was ‘only half joking’ when he made the crack and that he provoked ‘nervous laughter’ from other ministers." - Daily Mail

  • "David Cameron has been forced to defend George Osborne amid accusations he helped secure a £600million detour for the controversial High Speed Rail line to avoid losing votes." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: 

"Tory traditionalists" set to back gay marriage

"Tory traditionalists in the Cabinet are preparing to back gay marriage despite continuing anger among the party’s grassroots. ... Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, one of the Government’s most senior Right-wingers, indicated yesterday he will vote in favour of legalising same-sex unions next week, while Baroness Warsi, who has previously expressed concern, also revealed she is to back the reform." - Daily Mail

  • "Children whose parents split after they turn seven are more likely to do poorly in exams and behave badly, a Government-funded study has found." - Daily Mail

Ken Clarke warns against British disengagement from Europe

KC"Britian would be making a 'fatal mistake' if it left the European Union, Ken Clarke said yesterday as Europhile heavyweights launched a campaign for deeper UK engagement with Brussels ... 'We need to concentrate on what are are in favour of and not just what we are against,' he said." - The Times (£)

  • "Change is needed in Europe, but David Cameron’s posturing is not the way to bring it about" - Roy Hattersley, New Statesman

> Yesterday, by Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment: Some questions for the new "Centre for British Influence Through Europe"

Eric Pickles takes a swipe at the "gullible" BBC

"Eric Pickles has accused ‘gullible’ BBC journalists of working with Labour to maximise the ‘political damage’ over the Coalition’s spending cuts. ... In one of the most outspoken attacks on the Corporation by a senior minister, he said regional programmes gave ‘unquestioning’ airtime to Labour councils complaining about cuts." - Daily Mail

  • "'Secretive’ quangos blamed for council tax rise, says Eric Pickles" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on Local Government: Pickles attacks BBC

Fiona Bruce announces a cross-party commission into the abortion law on disabled babies

"A cross-party commission will seek to 'establish whether there is room for a review of this legislation bearing in mind both medical advances and advances in our attitudes to disability over recent years', Fiona Bruce, the Tory MP who will chair the inquiry, said yesterday." - Daily Telegraph

The chairs of five select committees write to David Cameron, urging him to leave out students from his migration target - Guardian

Police officers attack Government plans to allow foreigners to take charge of British forces

Met"The Association of Chief Police Officers insisted there was no shortage of talent in the police and worried that existing officers would be frustrated in their efforts to seek promotion. ... Policing Minister Damian Green said it would be ‘years not decades’ before a foreign national took charge of a force in England and Wales." - Daily Mail

  • "A shake-up in police recruitment, announced yesterday by Damian Green, the Police Minister, is a bold move in the right direction, but a step rather than a leap." - Times leader (£)
  • "Our police need more radical change than this" - Independent leader
  • "There’s no need for the police to fear new talent" - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "Theresa May has simply got on with the job of police reform" - Martin Kettle, Guardian

"Ministers should be prepared to miss their controversial foreign aid target if they cannot ensure the cash will be spent effectively, MPs said yesterday" - Daily Mail

Ministers come under question for their role in the West Coast Main Line debacle

"Ministers were to blame for the West Coast rail fiasco, according to a report by MPs published on Thursday. ... The Commons transport committee report said there were 'serious questions' about the roles of ministers and civil servants at all levels. ... These findings are at odds with statements from both Downing Street and Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, saying no minister was at fault for the cancellation of the contract to run the UK’s busiest intercity railway." - Financial Times (£)

  • "Our government system is a mess because of the high turnover of senior civil servants" - Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

Robert Halfon attacks the Office of Fair Trading's inquiry into fuel prices

RH2"Tory MP Robert Halfon, who spearheaded the Commons campaign against rip-off fuel prices, said the scandal still needed to be addressed. ... He insisted: ‘Whatever the OFT says, high prices at the pump are crushing families across Britain. Oil companies bear responsibility as well as the Government.’" - Daily Mail

  • "So why is fuel so expensive? One word: TAX. ... It’s all very well the Government freezing rises in duty. What are its plans to help the struggling trucking industry? What about the average driver, spending half a week’s wages just to get to work?" - Sun leader

> Yesterday:

Steven Norris: "If we are serious about big projects like HS2 we must drive a bulldozer through red tape" - Steven Norris, The Times (£)

Consultants who advise the banks on their salary packages? "A profession which makes prostitution seem thoroughly respectable," according to Lord Lawson - Daily Mail

The Coalition should ditch the Justice and Security Bill, reckons Peter Oborne - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

Steve Richards: David Cameron is suffering from fixed-term parliaments

SR"Before fixed-term parliaments it was assumed that a Prime Minister would call a general election after four years. Even if it did not happen the assumption that it might would concentrate minds. ... But this year is different. There will be no election in 2014. ... There is still plenty of time to be disloyal, to speak up for principled conviction, to plot and plan against a leader." - Steve Richards, Independent

Ed Davey says that nuclear's still on track – even though a new radioactive waste dump has been blocked

"Britain’s long-term nuclear plans have been thrown into disarray after the only county willing to store radioactive waste pulled out of the running. ... Energy secretary Edward Davey said: ‘I am confident that the programme to manage radioactive waste safely will ultimately be successful, and that the decisions made in Cumbria today will not undermine prospects for new nuclear power stations.’" - Daily Mail

Quentin Letts versus Labour and the Lib Dems: "In 23 years as a parliamentary reporter, I've never felt such disgust for our political class"

Ql"Nick Clegg broke manifesto commitments faster than a harlot hopping into a kerb-crawler’s Monteg. Tuesday should act as a stern lesson to Fleet Street not to cave in to the prim strictures of the Leveson age. ... We journalists must redouble our scrutiny of politicians. They are plainly not to be trusted." - Daily Mail

  • "Miliband would also have a hard time persuading his MPs to buddy up with Clegg’s party. A crucial difference is that Labour’s attitude towards the Lib Dems is shifting from blind fury to electoral pragmatism, while the Tories have taken great strides in the opposite direction." - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: The Coalition risks breakdown if it doesn’t unite around some new big ideas

Ed Miliband's plan for tackling youth unemployment

"We need a new generation of skilled workers and new apprenticeships. ... So Labour’s plan is to say that every big firm that gets a contract with the Government must commit to training young people for high-skilled jobs." - Ed Miliband, The Sun

The SNP agrees to change the wording of its referendum question

"The Scottish government has accepted an amended referendum question for the 2014 vote on whether Scotland should end its three century-old union with England. ... The UK independent Electoral Commission on Wednesday opposed the Scottish government’s plan to ask voters 'Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?' It said the use of 'Do you agree' could encourage them to answer 'yes'." - Financial Times (£)

> Today, by Henry Hill: A question of Scotland's referendum question

Andy Maciver: It's all too little, too late for the Scottish Tories

RD"Ruth [Davidson] made a speech acknowledging that the party’s problems are more fundamental than bad marketing, and accepting that Scotland doesn’t trust the Tories. ... The large elephant in the small room remains the impotence of the Scottish Tory party. During the leadership election, Murdo make clear that a new captain was not enough; we needed a new ship. It is no less true now than it was then." - Andy Maciver, The Scotsman

A member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee speaks out against NGDP-targetting

"In an interview with The Independent, Martin Weale argues that 'in the present circumstances', where inflation has been higher than the Bank's official two per cent target for several years, the negatives of switching to a so-called NGDP target outnumbered the positives." - Independent

"Millions of low-income households face a rise in their council tax bills costing them up to £600 a year from April under a 'poll tax bombshell', according to new study" - Independent

Chief executive of the NHS apologises for Mid Stafford failings

NHS"The chief executive of the NHS apologised yesterday for catastrophic failings that led to hundreds of deaths at Mid Stafford NHS Foundation Trust from 2005 to 2009. ... Sir David Nicholson said the NHS 'had let people down in the most devastating way'." - The Times (£)

  • "Hospitals should face tough new scrutiny of their care by beefed-up teams of inspectors including doctors and nurses, a landmark report into hundreds of unnecessary deaths at an NHS hospital will recommend next week." - Guardian
  • "Health and social care could account for half of all government spending in 50 years, according to a report on Thursday by the King’s Fund" - Financial Times (£)
  • "Give us the facts. Then close bad hospitals" - Camilla Cavendish, The Times (£)

British burgers could have been contanimated with horse meat for over a year - The Sun

The Times reports that one of Britain's biggest charities is a "front for tax avoidance"

"Wealthy donors used the Cup Trust to avoid £46 million in tax in an extensive abuse of Gift Aid incentives designed to encourage charitable donations." - The Times (£)

  • "Britain’s four biggest accountancy firms created 79 tax avoidance schemes in the past three years while benefiting from multimillion-pound Government contracts." - The Times (£)
  • "Corporate tax posturing should stop" - John Gapper, Financial Times (£)

"Britain's top taxman – who stepped down after he was accused by MPs of lying – has been hired by HSBC to advise it on honesty" - Daily Mail

A report from the LSE calls for an overhaul of Britain's "mediocre" education system

"Failing schools and poorly performing teachers lead to a ‘waste of human resources on a grand scale,’ causing long-term damage to the UK, the scathing document says. ... Local councils which do not let failing schools close must see their wings clipped, and the system for assessing teachers must be revamped, it argues." - Daily Mail

  • "The speed and scale of the government’s planned GCSE overhaul could jeopardise the English exam system, ministers have been warned by a Conservative-led committee of MPs." - Financial Times (£)
  • "Michael Gove is destroying our school system" - Suzanne Moore, Guardian
  • "The guilty secret behind a private education" - David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

The number of applications for university places has risen by 3.5 per cent - Financial Times (£)

Poland"Polish is Britain's second language and nearly one in five people in London only speak English as a second tongue" - Daily Mail

  • "Mr Blair’s immigration policies, though doubtless favourable to many Poles, were injurious to many Britons, most of them working-class, and Labour voters." - Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • "A little reverse pschology might dissuade immigrants from embarking" - Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Andrew Lilico on Comment: Tell Conservatives to avoid attacking "multiculturalism" when they attack multiculturalism

And finally 1)... The judge who paid a thief's debt to court

"Daniel Northridge admitted stealing two letters from a shared mailbox in his block of flats because he was 'skint' and looking for money in Christmas cards. ... District Judge Tim Devas gave him a six-month community order with supervision and said he must pay a £1 surcharge. ... However, after hearing of Northbridge’s limited means, he put his hand in his pocket and gave a £1 coin to the clerk at Mansfield magistrates’ court to clear the debt." - Daily Telegraph

And finally 2)... The joke's on Justin Welby

Lp"The new Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that he regarded his application for the job as a 'joke'. He described how he was ordered by the Church of England to apply after just seven months as Bishop of Durham, even though he thought it ridiculous." - 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.

30 Jan 2013 08:31:56

Newslinks for Wednesday 30th January 2013

Andrew6pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: Tell Conservatives to avoid attacking "multiculturalism" when they attack multiculturalism

4.30pm Local government: Pickles attacks BBC

4pm MPsETC: Candidates selected for the two target seats of Cheltenham and St Austell & Newquay

2.45pm WATCH: A PMQs double-bill:

1.45pm ToryDiary: Miliband targets Osborne (and Osborne’s fiscal policy, natch) in PMQs

RH12.45pm WATCH: Robert Halfon MP criticises the OFT's inquiry into fuel prices

10.15am Local government: Braintree cuts Council Tax

10am ToryDiary: The Coalition might fix schools and welfare but voters won't be grateful if the economy remains flat

ToryDiary: The Coalition risks breakdown if it doesn’t unite around some new big ideas

Jeremy WrightJeremy Wright MP on Comment: The state doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas when it comes to cutting reoffending

Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment: Some questions for the new "Centre for British Influence Through Europe"

On MajorityConservatism, the third in our six-part series looking at Conservatism for the Little Guy: Robert Halfon MP, champion of tax cuts for the poor 

Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: Staffordshire is champion council of the week

The Deep End: Gun control: Barack Obama should follow in John Howard’s footsteps

David Cameron orders 330 British to Mali – amid concerns about defence cuts

Mali"As David Cameron ordered 330 troops to the troubled West African state to support the French-led assault on Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents, alarmed military commanders raised fears of a ‘mission creep’. ... Ministers insisted the troops’ role would be limited to training African soldiers and providing experts in intelligence, surveillance and logistics, while Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there was ‘no intention’ of UK units being involved in combat." - Daily Mail

"George Osborne is under pressure from Tory MPs to shield the armed forces from further defence cuts in this year’s spending review, as the military is dispatched to a new war zone in Mali." - Financial Times (£)

"The Telegraph understands that senior commanders fear that the quality of Britain’s world-class special forces could be undermined if defence spending is cut again in 2015." - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron will fly in to troubled North Africa today amid concern that Britain is being rapidly drawn into the region’s fight against terrorism." - The Times (£)
  • "Scores of corpses were pulled from a river in Aleppo yesterday after the worst massacre that Syria’s war-ravaged second city has suffered." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Garvan Walshe: We may not be interested in ungoverned spaces, but they are interested in us

"IRA assassins are plotting a terror outrage as world leaders gather for a G8 summit in Northern Ireland, MI5 chiefs fear." - The Sun

Ministers are pushing for a married couples tax break to avert a revolt over same-sex marriage

"David Cameron is under mounting pressure to push through tax breaks for married couples as a way of averting a Tory rupture over gay marriage. ... Ministers are pressing Downing Street to make a Budget announcement in March implementing the party’s promise to reward married couples in the tax system. Cabinet sources told The Times that George Osborne should act 'sooner rather than later' and that the Budget would be 'a good time to placate an awful lot of people'." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Jonathan Isaby on Comment: This Conservative-led Government has raised tax more than twice as often as it has cut it

Tory MPs attack Nick Clegg after the boundary reforms are voted down

CoC"Tory MPs accused Mr Clegg of ‘spite’ and ‘bitterness’ as MPs voted by 334 votes to 292 to delay any change to boundaries until 2018 – a majority of 42. ... It was the first time the Liberal Democrats have voted with Labour to destroy a piece of Government legislation." - Daily Mail

  • "Labour now the firm favourite to triumph in 2015 elections" - Allister Heath, City AM
  • "This was Parliament at its most contemptible. In a despicable display of treachery and spite, Lib Dems joined forces with self-serving Opposition parties last night to vote against a fundamental principle of democracy." - Daily Mail leader
  • "How could someone as devoted to constitutional reform as the Liberal Democrat leader have led his party into the lobbies to vote down his coalition partner? The answer ... is 'politics'." - Times leader (£)

> Yesterday:

And there's more intra-Coalition tension on the way... this time over Mary Seacole

MS"Senior figures in the coalition government are on a collision course over the fate of the 'greatest black Briton', The Independent has learned. ... Sources close to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he is determined to put a stop to plans reportedly put in place by Education Minister Michael Gove to remove Mary Seacole, renowned for giving sanctuary to soldiers during the Crimean War, from the National Curriculum." - Independent

  • "Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats’ former Treasury spokesman, told Mr Cameron in a letter: 'Your campaign as chairman of the G8 against tax dodging by big companies will be holed below the waterline if you keep Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, on your Business Advisory Panel.' - Independent

Michael Gove's English Baccalaureate has been rejected by the Welsh Government - Independent

Tory plans to reach out to ethnic minorities and other groups

"With the Europe question temporarily resolved by the prime minister’s promise to hold a future referendum, the Tory leadership is again trying to emphasise its modernising credentials in the run up to the 2015 election. ... Its strategy to target these different voter groups is already building. ... Alok Sharma, the Tory vice-chairman and MP for Reading West, is meanwhile being asked to come up with ideas to appeal to black and Asian voters." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: How can the Conservatives win over more ethnic minority voters?

Elizabeth Truss summarises her childcare reforms for the Guardian

LT"Our plans will give parents the confidence they crave – that they can leave their children with people who know what they are doing. They will give women who want to work more choice and a greater chance of being able to build a career. They will offer professionals more respect and better pay. And they will let children enjoy an environment where they can learn and grow in safety." - Elizabeth Truss, Guardian 

"A senior adviser to David Cameron has said a minister 'got a little bit ahead of herself' when she indicated that 'all families' could get child care tax breaks." - Daily Telegraph

  • "The provision of affordable child care was the big idea in the Coalition’s mid-term review and was to be its dominant political theme for 2013. It has got off to a rocky start." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "Childcare arrangements are a deeply personal choice and most parents know better than any regulation what is best for their families. For it to become real choice, however, affordable childcare is a must." - Times leader (£)
  • "The biggest danger of the lot is that quality will suffer as childcare 'class sizes' rocket in places where parents have no choice but to go with the cheapest nursery, while parents in more prosperous parts of town continue to finance two-to-one or three-to-one care." - Guardian leader

> Yesterday:

The HS2 row steams on, dragging George Osborne along with it

Hs2"Yesterday – in a press release issued by Tory-run Cheshire East Council – its leader Michael Jones suggested that Mr Osborne had fought to keep the line away from the eastern side of the seat. This avoids Tatton’s so called ‘Golden Triangle’ of Tory-voting Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. ... A spokesman for Mr Osborne said: ‘Cheshire East put something out but corrected it when they realised they were wrong. We have made clear throughout the process that George has never sought to influence the route.’" - Daily Mail

  • "HS2 likely to cause 'pain, misery and disappointment' to locals, says Nick Boles" - Daily Telegraph

Theresa May looks to fast-track the best new police recruits

"New recruits could be fast-tracked to be chief constables within ten years under plans announced today to attract the brightest and the best into policing ... The proposal is part of a package of measures under which foreign police chiefs would be able to become chief constables and buisnessmen could join the police at the rank of superintendent." - The Times (£)

The Government is in a "spin over sugar", suggests the FT

Sugar"Owen Paterson, environment secretary, has told his French counterpart that Europe’s 'counterproductive' quotas and tariffs on sugar – which European lawmakers last week voted to extend through 2020 – should be scrapped. 'They are bad for business and bad for consumers,' he said. ... However, the message from the health department is that it is sugar itself that is bad for consumers: a 'hidden nasty' lurking in all sorts of processed foods and fizzy drinks." - Financial Times (£)

Is the RSPCA becoming a "political prosecutor"? Sir Edward Garnier fears so; Dominic Grieve says not

"The RSPCA risks becoming a ‘political prosecutor’ rather than an animal welfare organisation, a senior Tory warned yesterday. ... Sir Edward Garnier, the former solicitor general, said the costs of a recent case involving David Cameron’s local hunt were far too high. ... But Dominic Grieve, speaking for the Government, told MPs the charity had the right to bring private prosecutions and that it performed a ‘valuable role’ bringing cruelty cases which might otherwise go unprosecuted." - Daily Mail

Baroness Verma speaks out on behalf of motorists

"Motorists are being 'ripped off at the pump' as a result of price-fixing by petrol companies, the Energy Minister has said ... Speaking in the House of Lords, Lady Verma said that ministers were looking at how energy companies could be 'encouraged' to pass on savings'." - The Times (£)

"Boris Johnson’s chief economic adviser has hit out at the credibility of rating agencies as he backed the London mayor’s proposals to boost investment in the capital’s infrastructure." - Financial Times (£)

MPs warn of councils sinking under the weight of cuts yet to come

Cuts"Whitehall’s financial watchdog has raised the spectre of 'multiple failures' of councils against the backdrop of more cuts into the next parliament. ... Local auditors have concluded that 12 per cent of local authorities were at an 'ongoing risk of being unable to balance their budgets', according to the National Audit Office." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on Local Government:

"Child asylum seekers are living in destitiution in Britain – with their mothers forced into prositution – because of failures in the support system, a Parliamentary report has found." - Independent

Did Miliband Major talk Miliband Minor out of an In/Out Referendum?

DM"The under-fire Labour leader’s refusal to offer a nationwide vote on Britain’s membership has infuriated some senior party figures. ... One claimed Ed vetoed an In-Out poll after his older sibling sneered it was 'too populist'. ... Ex-Foreign Secretary David — who lost out to his brother in the party leadership contest — also warned the risk of the nation voting to quit was too great. Pal Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, also backed the view, it was claimed." - The Sun

> Yesterday, by Greg Clark MP on Comment: EU renegotiation can be achieved

Labour wants an extra tax on bankers' bonuses

"Labour has urged ministers to impose an extra tax on bankers, as the party turned on the 'bumper bonus round' about to be paid in an industry mired in rate-fixing and mis-selling scandals. ... Chris Leslie, the shadow City minister, said: 'There should be fair rewards for performance, but these bonuses follow the Libor-fixing and mis-selling scandals that have been exposed in recent months.'" - Financial Times (£)

And Labour also wants all new gas-fired power plants to install technology to reduce their carbon emissions - Independent

Ivan Lewis outlines Labour's plans for a "social contract without borders"

"Our overarching aims should be measurable: by 2030 we want to have eliminated absolute poverty, begun to reduce inequality, protected scarce planetary resources and ended aid dependency." - Ivan Lewis, Guardian

Cash for policy? Labour under fire for taking money from anti-badger cull campaigners

Badger"John Glen, a Tory MP, said: 'We already know Ed Miliband’s union paymasters dictate Labour policy. These donations bear all the hallmarks of more cash for policy. Labour, yet again, have serious questions to answer over how their financial backers influence the way Labour vote in our Parliament.'" - Daily Telegraph

Teachers ignore their unions

"Most teachers are ignoring a 'work-to-rule' ordered by their two biggest unions as the battle to reverse the Government's education reforms falters ... a survey seen by the Times suggests that teachers are ignoring their unions in almost three quarters of schools. Another 18 per cent said that staff were boycotting some duties but that this was having little or no impact." - The Times (£)

The new Archbishop of Canterbury compares today's poverty to that of the 1930s

Justin Welby"In a farewell service as the outgoing Bishop of Durham, he said: ‘Children are going without sufficient food which I found particularly shocking and distressing. ... ‘This was something I had thought would have been eradicated by now.’ ... He added: ‘We are seeing things we thought had disappeared in the Thirties. Not on remotely the same scale but traces here and there.’" - Daily Mail

The House of Lords is in a mess, reckons Alice Thomson

"The House of Lords has become more acrimonious than the Commons. There are now 760 peers, and there are not enough ermine robes available to rent for the opening of Parliament. The peers now squabble about everything from coat pegs to parking spaces and whose legislation they will thwart." - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

The head of the Met believes that people should face mandatory drug tests at work - Daily Mail

  • "Three police forces have abandoned a planned outsourcing contract with the security company G4S after their newly appointed police and crime commissioners vetoed the deal." - Financial Times (£)

"People who have been given police cautions for theft will be free to work in care homes, schools and hospitals despite their criminal past, under a human rights ruling."Daily Mail

Daniel Finkelstein draws some important lessons from the Holocaust

DF"Wouldn't it be good if no one ever had to die to allow others to live, and freedom didn't need to protect itself with a rifle, and little girls could go to school in Pakistan without being shot? I want that world as fervently as anyone else. ... But one of the lessons of the Holocaust is that wanted it is not enough." - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

And finally 1)... Nick Griffin's fundraising ideas

"Nick Griffin, leader of the cash strapped far-right BNP, once fed his family on a rabbit that had been killed on the road. .. This was one of the strange revelations from an hour long speech he delivered in Coventry at the weekend ... he [also] urged every local BNP branch to have 'an eBay officer' – presumably to keep an eye out for bargains that could fill the party’s empty coffers. He also shared a fund raising idea with his audience. 'We are going to begin collecting scrap. Have you any idea of the price of copper?' he said." - Independent

And finally 2)... A Brit does well abroad: civil servant wins French award for his cheeses

"Though judged to be one of France’s foremost experts on the food, 30-year-old Matt has been in the cheese business for little more than a year. Until 2011, he was working for the National Audit Office as an accountant. ... When he learned his employer was offering unpaid sabbaticals of up to two years — a kind of ‘trial separation’, as he puts it — he seized the chance to swap his calculator for a cheese wire." - Daily Mail

  • "France is totally bankrupt," says ... the French employment minister - Independent

And finally 3)... Another Brit does well abroad: Tony Blair receives an award from Poland

Tony Blair"In Britain, his ‘open door’ immigration policies have been criticised by all sides. ... But in Poland, which was transformed by entry into the EU, Tony Blair is feted as a hero. ... And yesterday the former Prime Minister was handed a special award for helping hundreds of thousands of Poles come to live in the UK." - 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.

29 Jan 2013 08:35:00

Newslinks for Tuesday 29th January 2013

6.45pm ToryDiary: Strong backing for Liz Truss's childcare reforms

5.45pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: Two kinds of recession, and why neither fiscal nor monetary stimulus always works

4.30pm ToryDiary: Boundary reform defeated by 334 to 292

2.15pm WATCH: Liz Truss announces childcare plans

2pm Greg Clark MP on Comment: EU renegotiation can be achieved

12.45pm Local government: Trafford freezes Council Tax

12.30pm MPsETC: Am hearing that a handful of Tory MPs will vote with Labour and the LibDems AGAINST boundary fairness...

Jenkin Bernard Oct 1111.45pm Bernard Jenkin MP on Comment: Clegg's hypocrisy on boundary changes

10.30am ToryDiary: An encouraging report on childcare for Elizabeth Truss

10am WATCH: Lord Sudeley standing in the hereditary peers byelection

ToryDiary: How can the Conservatives win over more ethnic minority voters?

Garvan Walshe: We may not be interested in ungoverned spaces, but they are interested in us

Jonathan Isaby on Comment: This Conservative-led Government has raised tax more than twice as often as it has cut it

Majority Conservatism: Nick Boles MP and affordable housing. The latest in our Little Guy Conservatism series

Local government: Leeds Council owns 11,904 paintings

The Deep End: Insourcing - at last a positive economic trend

TimesethnicTories to urge companies to publish ethnic make-up

"Big companies would be urged to publish the ethnic breakdown of their workforce under Conservative plans to help to repair the party’s image with Black and Asian voters. David Cameron has told the Cabinet to come up with policies to appeal to ethnic communities amid fears that without them the party will struggle to win an outright majority." - The Times (£)  

  • "Tony Blair only took his party back into power when he overcame a historic “gender gap” and persuaded as many women as men to vote Labour. Now David Cameron has been warned that he will struggle to win an overall majority at the next election unless he can deal with an “ethnicity effect” that is becoming increasingly damaging to the Conservatives." - Rachel Sylvester The Times (£)

Bercow warns Cameron not to block large pay rise for MPs

"Mr Bercow said that MPs “resent” moves by independently wealthy party leaders like the Prime Minister to prevent increases in their pay, currently £65,738. Trying to block rise would not be “terribly clever or brave”, he said." - Daily Telegraph

LiztrussLiz Truss raises nursery ratios to cut cost of child care

"Nurseries and childminders in England are to be allowed to look after more children per adult in an attempt to cut childcare costs. Children's Minister Liz Truss will say the ratio of children to child carers can be raised but only if the carers' qualifications meet new standards." - BBC

  • "The Childcare Minister has said she would be happy to entrust her own children to nursery teachers looking after six toddlers each." - The Times (£)
  • "I recently visited France to look at their provision for young children. Even in the cab on the way to the nursery I was struck by the stories of the interpreter and the embassy staff about how simple it is to receive support and access childcare." Liz Truss The Independent

DavisVote on boundary changes today

"MPs are to vote on changes to their constituency boundaries and whether a planned shake-up should be introduced in time for the next general election."  - BBC

  • "The return to the Commons of the electoral registration and administration bill will be marked by a government attempt – or more precisely a Conservative party attempt – to keep the proposed new constituency boundaries alive. Commons arithmetic suggests that they will probably fail. The Tories will vote one way. Most of the other parties – the Democratic Unionists are playing their cards close to their chests – look likely to vote the other." - The Guardian
  • "David Davis, Mr Cameron’s former rival for the leadership, said he was likely to vote against the government while five other Conservatives are also expected to rebel." - Daily Telegraph
  • "Former Tory Defence Secretary Liam Fox branded Lib Dem MPs “deeply dishonourable” for rowing back on an earlier pledge to back the plan which would also slash the number of MPs from 650 to 600. He added: “Who will trust them again?” " - The Sun

OsbornegHS2 route published

"Towns and cities across the country were promised the benefit of an extended high-speed rail network as the government on Monday unveiled a proposed route carefully designed to win over a sceptical nation to HS2." - The Guardian

  • "The route will also pass through part of the Tatton constituency of George Osborne, the Chancellor, who today insisted the project will be an “engine for growth” in the north of the country. MPs immediately criticised the Government over the route and warned that Mr Osbrone will now "see the strength of public opinion" over the issue for himself." - Daily Telegraph
  • "It was appropriate for the Coalition to choose a Cabinet awayday in Leeds yesterday to announce the extension of the HS2 high-speed railway. For this ambitious project is all about straddling the North-South divide and making this country a more integrated economy. The ability to travel from the north of England to the capital in little more than an hour can transform the business map of Britain." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • HS2 costs rise £2 billion in 12 months - Financial Times
  • "The government needs to be the enabler: it must allow the construction of railways, roads, airports and utilities that the private sector believes it can profitably provide. The economic costs of HS2 would always be greater than its benefits so it fails that test." - Allister Heath City AM
>Yesterday MPsETC: Patrick McLoughlin's case for HS2: "It is a project that can become a priceless national asset"

BrandonBrandon Lewis rejects calls for new local taxes

"Councils should be able to raise their own revenues, such as a "tourist tax", to supplement central funding if backed by residents, a Commons committee said....But ministers said there was "little appetite" for multiple local taxes." - BBC 

 MPs challenge Osborne on budget sums

"George Osborne has been criticised for relying on the sale of the 4G mobile spectrum and Swiss tax repatriation to fund big giveaways such as fuel duty freezes, given that both windfalls are “far from
certain”." - Financial Times

119 Coalition tax cuts - 299 tax rises

"The new taxes will mean that taxpayers will shell out £671billion a year by 2015/16 – a 15 per cent increase on the £513billion in the final year of the Labour government. Research from the centre-right think-tank, the TaxPayers’ Alliance, lays bare the extent of taxes that have been introduced." - Daily Mail

  • "The Government remains addicted to raising taxes, increasing pain on families...Most financial pain is among low and middle earners. The Government must get the taxman off their backs and give them a chance. Cutting the scandalous rate of fuel tax would be a start." - The Sun Says

Baker_kennethLord Baker says universities should go private to escape fees cap

"Leading English universities should be encouraged to go private and set unlimited fees, a former Education Secretary has said. Lord Baker of Dorking who, as Kenneth Baker, introduced the National
Curriculum during Margaret Thatcher’s third term in office, said that the current fee, which is capped at £9,000, wasn’t enough to keep top British universities among the world’s best." - The Times (£)

Mark_Harper_-_Minister_of_State_for_ImmigrationEU migrants "won't get NHS care"

"Migrants from Romania and Bulgaria who travel to Britain without a job are to be told they must have private medical insurance to prevent the NHS becoming an ‘international health service’. Immigration minister Mark Harper told the Daily Mail that limiting access to free healthcare is seen as key to preventing a fresh influx of migrants when controls are lifted at the end of this year." - Daily Mail

Hammond denies comparing gay marriage to incest - The Times (£)

Andrew Gimson says despite Adam Afriyie's denial there is still talk of mutiny

"For while I am prepared to bet that the multimillionaire MP for Windsor will never become Tory leader, the fact that this generally uninspiring figure, who has never made the slightest impression as a debater, could even be dreamed of as a challenger is indicative of the state of near mutiny that exists in the parliamentary Conservative party." Andrew Gimson The Guardian

> Yesterday

Lib Dem MP who attacked "the Jews" given yellow card

"A Lib-Dem MP who accused "the Jews" in Israel of "inflicting atrocities on Palestinians" has received a letter of censure by the party. Bradford East MP David Ward later apologised and said he had been "trying to make clear that everybody needs to learn the lessons of the Holocaust"." - BBC

UK to send troops to Mail - BBC

HuhneChris Huhne's speed trial date set for Monday - BBC

Charity Commission tells the RSPCA to review prosecution policies - Daily Telegraph

Poll finds three voters in 10 more likely to back Conservatives after EU referendum pledge - The Independent

Byelection shocks more likely as Party membership declines - The Independent



> 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 Jan 2013 08:28:54

Newslinks for Monday 28th January 2013

4.45pm WATCH: The Afriyie plot - Those Taiwanese illustrators' take

4pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband & the referendum - skewered by Morton's Fork

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at WATCH:

11.45am MPsETC: Patrick McLoughlin's case for HS2: "It is a project that can become a priceless national asset"

10.30am Local Government: Pickles to punish democracy dodging Council Tax risers

10am Local government: Windsor and Maidenhead to cut Council Tax by another 3%

ToryDiary: "Stalking Womble" J Alfred Prufrock MP to challenge Cameron for leadership

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.24.59
Tim Montgomerie launches the first of a six-part series on MajorityConservatism for the Little Guy: Laura Sandys MP and a pro-consumer conservatism

John Baron MP on Comment: Let's place legislation on the Statute Book in this Parliament for a referendum in the next

Also on Comment: Andrew Lilico - What Jonathan Portes gets wrong and why

Cllr Clare George-Hilley on Local Government: Conservatives are building a bright future for Croydon

The Deep End: Whatever happened to the Eurozone crisis?

WATCH: "Fluffy PR" - Cheryl Gillan slams HS2

Cameron takes Cabinet north for HS2 big push...

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 05.00.52
"In a show of commitment to the project the Cabinet will meet in the North today, with ministers fanning out afterwards to sell the benefits. “High-speed rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration. It is vital that we get on board the high-speed revolution,” Mr Cameron will say. Cities chosen for stops on the line support the project, as does Labour, which wants parliamentary approval speeded up so that construction can start simultaneously in London and the North." - The Times (£)

  • "Commuters face years more of rising fares and overcrowding" - Daily Express

...But the "spur" to Heathrow is on hold...

"There is also likely to be a fresh blow for Heathrow Airport when it is confirmed it will be left out of the southern HS2 link. The government has put plans for a “spur” to Heathrow from the London-to-Birmingham section of the £32billion project on hold because of continuing uncertainty about the airport’s future…a dedicated “spur” to Heathrow will not be built until 2032 at the earliest and may not even be constructed at all." - Daily Telegraph

...Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett and Andrew Bridgen MP lay into the scheme...

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 07.45.09However, rebel Conservative Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, told the Daily Mail: ‘We are not Nimbys. It’s all very well Patrick McLoughlin saying some people are going to be upset but that it’s all for the national interest. ‘But it’s not going through his Derbyshire Dales constituency. It is my constituents who are going to be upset – with all the pain and none of the gain. People will go ballistic.’ - Daily Mail

...As does Cheryl Gillan...

"The former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, whose Amersham and Chesham seat is on the route, has described it as "the wrong railway in the wrong place at the wrong time and for such a high cost". The Speaker, John Bercow, whose Buckingham seat is similarly affected, has called it a "wretched, unnecessary project". The Chancellor George Osborne may now have to cope with some local opposition because his Tatton constituency lies along the obvious route between Birmingham and Manchester." - The Independent

...But business leaders back it in the FT

"However, the line has broad cross-party support and strong backing from local authorities and businesses in the Midlands and the north. In a letter to the Financial Times, more than 70 business leaders and heads of regional bodies call on the government to build the line “as soon as possible”. They argue it would send a “message to global investors that the UK is on their side” - Financial Times (£)

A million postcards, designed for Catholics to complete and send to their MP asking them to vote against the Government’s same-sex marriage plan, were distributed at masses over the weekend - Daily Telegraph

Remploy replacement scheme has been a success, claims Esther McVey

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 07.50.21"Hundreds of disabled workers who lost their jobs when the Government closed their factories are back on the road to employment, The Sun has learned. MPs will be told today that a Whitehall scheme to help those affected by Remploy’s collapse has been a success. The Coalition sparked fury last year when it announced it was shutting 36 of the state-subsidised factories." - The Sun

Police Chief calls for positive discrimination - Daily Telegraph

Scores of violent offenders walk out of prison - Daily Telegraph

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright admits five children were held in adult jails - The Independent

Pickles: Local authorities that won't freeze council tax face referendum

"Mr Pickles, who describes some councils as “cheating their taxpayers”, discloses that only about a third have so far signed up for a national council tax freeze, with dozens more threatening to defy government calls for restraint amid the ongoing economic turmoil. About 115 councils, out of 351 in England, have confirmed that they will freeze council tax in April. This compares with 99 per cent of councils in 2011 and 85 per cent last year." - Daily Telegraph

  • Why Councils should heed our quiet revolution - Eric Pickles, Daily Telegraph

Precious ash trees might be saved - The Times (£)

Scottish Conservatives announce wind farm curbs

Ruth Davidson"All wind farms would be built at least two kilometres (one-and-a-quarter miles) away from housing in Scotland under plans to be unveiled by the Conservatives today. The party warns that turbine numbers in Scotland will rise to more than 5,000 as the SNP moves ahead with plans to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from green energy sources like wind, wave and hydro…Tory leader Ruth Davidson will say: “It is not fair that anyone should have to live in the shadow of a turbine" - Scotsman

Richard Graham MP says women in short skirts and high heels will find it harder to escape sexual predators - Daily Mail

Tyrie slams secret courts

"Plans for secret courts to be voted on by MPs today will undermine centuries of open justice and erode Britain’s moral standing in the world, according to a hard-hitting new report. A paper by senior Tory MP Andrew Tyrie - a campaigner on human rights - and leading QC Anthony Peto, calls on the government to rewrite its plans to hold court cases covering national security behind closed doors." - Daily Mail

"Tory coup turns into farce"..."Bizarre round of speculation"…"The coup that never was..." Today's papers shred yesterday's Afriyie speculation.

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.00.50
"Challenged about the rumours on a TV news channel, self-made IT millionaire Mr Afriyie, 47, admitted he had held “conversations” about the party’s long-term future but denied plotting a coup. He said: “I will never stand against David Cameron. I am 100 per cent supportive of David Cameron and I am working with many colleagues to make sure we give the Conservatives the best chance of winning the May elections, the Euro elections and the 2015 election." - Daily Express

AA* follow-up 1) Heaton-Harris issues Cameron declaration of loyalty

Chris Heaton-Harris"MP allies such as Mark Field and Eurosceptic Chris Heaton-Harris are said to be impressed by the way he rose from a single parent home on a council estate to make a fortune put at £100million.  Mr Heaton-Harris was yesterday also forced to issue a declaration of loyalty.  ‘I want and expect David Cameron, who I admire hugely and support as party leader completely, to lead the Conservative Party into the next General Election and I also fully expect us to win that election,’ he said." - Daily Mail

AA follow-up 2) The Times says that Afriyie has "no real prospect" of leading the party...

"In reality, Mr Afriyie has no real prospect of becoming Tory leader. Those involved in the campaign to promote him said that the details had leaked out “too early”. However, it has lifted the lid on the extent of Conservative alienation from the party’s leadership…Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, and Jesse Norman, a new Conservative MP, are both said to have “growing fan clubs”." - The Times (£)

AA follow-up 3) ...But Nadine says: No, no, he could make it

"Maverick MP Nadine Dorries claimed Mr Afriyie was one of four possible long-term successors to Mr Cameron — along with Jesse Norman, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Tory chairman Grant Shapps dismissed claims of a challenge to the PM as “distractions”." - The Sun

  • Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 00.13.08Leadership hysteria: Your chance to vote online for Adam Afriyie, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Jesse Norman or J.Alfred Prufrock MP at the Daily Telegraph
    Will Adam Afriyie get pay back for his battles against the MPs' expenses system? - Daily Telegraph
  • Council house boy who made a £100 million fortune - Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

*AA = Afriyie-ites Anonymous

Peter Oborne: A Tory Al Qaeda is roaming the backbench wastelands

"Like the interior of Mali, large tranches of the Conservative Party have become an ungoverned space, just waiting for an interloper to raise the flag of open revolt. In recent months I have frequently been shocked at the scale of venom, contempt, and even hatred, expressed in private towards the Prime Minister. Many bitterly resent their exclusion from power – although few admit to this (very natural) emotion. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that both Mr Afriyie and Mr Field were snubbed by the leadership." - Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary - "Stalking Womble" J Alfred Prufrock MP to challenge Cameron for leadership

> Yesterday:

Egypt's Morsi declares state of emergency - Financial Times (£)

Socialism really works: how North Korean parents are eating their children - Daily Mail

Boris to Miliband: Give the people a referendum, You Big Girl's Blouse!

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.10.57"I was amazed when Ed Miliband announced last Wednesday that the Labour Party was ruling out a referendum. I don’t know whether his response to David Cameron’s speech was long-meditated — like the speech itself — or whether it was a kneejerk thing. Either way, he has blown it big time. He has painted himself into a corner. He has entered a lobster pot, and he is going to find it hard to back out with any kind of dignity — though I have no doubt that he will soon begin to try." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

We may leave the EU, warns Shapps

"Yesterday, when asked whether the Government would back Britain leaving the EU if renegotiation failed, Mr Shapps said: “I think that most people in this country agree that Europe isn’t what we originally signed up for. It has changed dramatically and so let’s see if we can get some of those powers back.  “If we can’t get any powers back at all then we’ll be in a different position.” He said that it would ultimately be for the public, not ministers, to decide whether the renegotiation was radical enough." - Daily Telegraph

A message to Romanians and Bulgarians: please, please don't come here.  The weather's terrible, global warming is frying us to a crisp, there's the wrong kind of snow…

"One idea was for the UK to run a negative public information campaign, according to ministers, to “correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold”. The campaign would focus on the downside of life in the UK, majoring on the changeable weather. Another option would mean that Romanians and Bulgarians would be forced to show that they have the means to support themselves for six months – or get thrown out." - Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Immigrants wanting to stay in Britain will have to swot up on Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, the Beatles, Coronation Street, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis, Bobby Moore, Ian Botham and Four Weddings & a Funeral.  (Tony Blair gets "a single paragraph")

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.14.26Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “We’ve stripped out mundane information about water meters and how to find train timetables. The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British.” The previous test — introduced in 2007 — focused more on immigrants’ rights…The info might be handy for new citizens when chatting in the “important part of the UK social culture” known as “public houses” - The Sun

White British families drop by up to a quarter in some outer London boroughs - Daily Mail

Rain goddess Spelman returns to back radical civil service change

"Caroline Spelman, the former Environment Secretary, will back the reforms today, with the warning that permanent secretaries hold the “political life” of their minister in their hands. She told The Times that she had been supported brilliantly by her civil servants, but had been surprised she could not choose who would be given the top post. She will speak at the Institute for Government today in favour of giving Cabinet ministers a place on the panel that chooses permanent secretaries and will argue the posts should be more widely advertised to the private sector." - The Times (£)

Lords to get 50 new peers this week - Daily Mail

Osborne backs off radical Carney inflation plan

"George Osborne is cooling on the idea of changing the Bank of England’s inflation target to one aimed at the amount of spending, top Treasury officials have told the FT. The chancellor now thinks there is sufficient leeway in a “flexible” inflation target for the central bank to boost growth. The chancellor, who met Mark Carney, the BoE governor designate, for a drink on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday night, is worried that Mr Carney accidentally set up unrealistic expectations of a revolution in monetary policy in a December speech." - Financial Times (£)

  • Trevor Kavanagh echoes ConHome's call for a Big Osborne Economy speech - The Sun

Tim Montgomerie: My friend Rob Halfon - champion of the little guy

HALFON-robert"Ten hard years of visiting every street in Harlow didn’t just win a parliamentary seat for Rob. The experience also fashioned a philosophy of doorstep conservatism that makes him one of the most insightful Conservative MPs in the Commons today. Through hard, patient constituency grind he possesses as close to a winning recipe as any Tory MP I know. At the heart of his belief is a bias towards the little guy." - The Times (£)

> Today: MajorityConservatism for the Little Guy - Laura Sandys MP and a pro-consumer conservatism

The Independent interviews David Laws about the next Libdem Manifesto

"It's quite possible that there still won't be a single party majority after the next general election," he said. "The public have a generally sceptical view of political promises, unless they can see very clearly how they are going to be paid for. "The demands on us have to have a really rigorous set of manifesto policies with a very clear sense of what our priorities will be, will be greater than ever before." The Liberal Democrats' 2015 pitch is already clear. "We don't have confidence that Labour is serious on economic policy, or that the Conservatives have a strong enough policy commitment to creating a fairer society," said Mr Laws." - The Independent

  • Curse of Clegg strikes LibDem leader on Marr over oldest son's coming private school education - Daily Telegraph

Minimum alcohol pricing deal will "leave £1billion hole in coffers" - The Sun

Green deal seeks to boost energy efficiency - Financial Times (£)

Adams to stay away from funeral of Old Bailey bomber Dolores Price - Newsletter

Andy Murray agony - All news outlets


> 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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