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Newslinks for Monday 21st January 2013

5.15pm Local government: Labour councillors sign pledge against budget cuts

3pm LeftWatch: The EU's huge funding for fascists and communists

2.30pm Dr Owen Corrigan on Comment: Let's focus on high quality technical and vocational education

Noon: ToryDiary: Lib Dems have no credibility in opposing an in/out EU referendum

Markfield11am Mark Field MP on Comment asks Will the Amenas gas plant siege be the first skirmish of many?

ToryDiary: Let's acknowledge that Cameron has moved towards the Conservative Mainstream in recent months

Dr David Green on Comment: Is Britain content to be a useful outpost of American foreign policy?

Majority Conservatism: Cameron should take up Alok Sharma's call for listed companies to disclose their ethnic balance

International: Narrow defeat for Merkel's CDU points to close federal election

Local government: Cllr Simon Cook says: Abolish the county councils

The Deep End: Is leaving the EU that big a deal anyway?

TelegraphfrontdecadesDavid Cameron to update MPs on Islamist terror

"David Cameron will address MPs on the Algerian hostage crisis later, as efforts continue to locate three remaining Britons feared dead. The prime minister has said there could be a decades-long battle against Islamist terrorism in north Africa." - BBC

  • "Few would argue with David Cameron’s resolve to take the fight to al-Qaeda in Africa in the wake of the Algerian atrocity. And he is right to caution there is no quick fix — rather a war that will take “years, even decades." But how does that square with a defence policy that will reduce the size of the Army by a fifth by the end of this decade?" The Sun Says
>WATCH: Cameron confirms British hostage deaths

Hague says there is a "strong case" for in/out referendum...

"We want to get a better relationship with the EU - there are changes we want in that relationship," he told the Andrew Marr show..."But when we have done that there is a strong case for fresh consent in this country and the people of this country having their say." - BBC

  • "By Sunday, it was clear that David Cameron would not be able to deliver the speech on Monday as planned, but would have to wait until later in the week. Aides said Wednesday is now the most likely date. Mr Cameron will use the speech to set out why he thinks the UK should stay in the EU, but he is also expected to promise a renegotiation of terms, followed by an in/out referendum." - Financial Times
  • "The Ukip position, of course, is simpler: we want to leave. That allows Mr Farage to depict even Mr Hague as pro-EU, a quite remarkable outcome for those who remember the Hague leadership." James Kirkup Daily Telegraph
>WATCH: Farage - "No deal with Cameron"
>ToryDiary: Exclusive - EU memo to the Prime Minister from his Political Adviser.

Fox...Liam Fox is satisfied...

“If that is the speech that is finally delivered, a great many of us will think it’s a speech we have been waiting a long time for any Prime Minister to deliver,” he told BBC One’s Sunday Politics.... “I think ultimately there has to be an in-out referendum..." - Daily Telegraph

...and Lord Owen says we should get on with it

"Treaty amendment should not wait until 2015. Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems can co-operate while remaining free to urge the electorate to vote to stay in the single market or come out of the EU. ...I believe the people of this country want and deserve a referendum. They do not trust politicians on Europe." David Owen The Guardian

HeywoodSir Jeremy Heywood rebuked over "plebgate"

"Sir Jeremy Heywood should have urged a wider probe into "discrepancies" of accounts between the MP and police, the Public Administration Committee said. The cabinet secretary was the wrong man to investigate the claims, it added." - BBC

  • "Cameron should have involved Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on ministers' interests." - The Guardian
  • "The implication of the Public Administration Select Committee report is that Mr Mitchell could have won his battle to keep his job if Sir Jeremy, the Cabinet Secretary, had spent more time scrutinising the original claims." - The Independent
  • "One of the first calls David Cameron makes when he starts work in the Downing Street flat at 5.45am is to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. He is one of the last people he speaks to at night." - Daily Mail

TheresamayTheresa May plans to hire US supercops

"Theresa May, the Home Secretary, intends to change the law to allow candidates such as Bill Bratton, the former head of the New York police, to fight crime in the UK. Mr Bratton was blocked from applying for the role of Metropolitan Police Commissioner amid objections that his appointment would have torn up the convention that British citizens should police their own communities." - Daily Telegraph

 Ministers had free Olympics tickets

"While former Treasury minister Lord Sassoon used the costliest ticket, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt received the most tickets totalling £605 and watched two cycling events, diving, football and gymnastics. A spokeswoman from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told BBC News.."The government paid-for tickets were used to invite and accompany a number of international and domestic political and business leaders.." - BBC

JeremyhuntInterviewed for The Guardian, Jeremy Hunt says there is neglect across the NHS

"The kind of neglect that disgraced Stafford hospital, where patients were left in soiled sheets, sitting on commodes for hours at a time and often denied pain relief, exists across the NHS, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said." - The Guardian

Tim Montgomerie says non-intervention endangers our interests

"The West may not be able to intervene everywhere but non-intervention is usually not only inhumane, it also endangers our strategic interests. In the not-too-distant future Assad will either be toppled or most of Syria will fall under the control of opposition forces. Those forces, now heavily radicalised and in alliance with extreme Islamist groups, won’t quickly forget the lack of American help." - The Times (£)

  • "Washington’s use of force is now wary, exercised through drone strikes and special forces’ operations, or by proxy with the provision of hardware such as Cruise missiles, while remaining in the background. In the end, however, events may force America back into a more
    assertive role – not least to confront the new threat developing in north Africa." - Daily Telegraph editorial

BorisBoris Johnson warns of mini-ice age

"No one contests that when the planet palpably cooled from 1645 to 1715 — the Maunder minimum, which saw the freezing of the Thames — there was a diminution of solar activity....And it is the view of Piers Corbyn that we are now seeing exactly the same phenomenon today. ...Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age. But it doesn’t seem as nuts as it did five years ago. I look at the snowy waste outside, and I have an open mind." Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraph

MailfrontperryClaire Perry says parents should "snoop" on their children

"The Tory MP for Devizes has now called on parents to take responsibility and challenge their offspring about their use of technology and the internet – even demanding to look when necessary. If they want to keep youngsters offline at 2am adults should simply turn off the router when they go to bed..." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Mrs Perry’s reward for her good sense is, predictably, a ‘crowd of hateful Twitter followers’ who want to undermine her work by labelling her the ‘Mary Whitehouse of the 2010s’. We trust the Prime Minister, having given Mrs Perry the job, will back her all the way – however loud the protests from those businesses who make millions of pounds from sexualising the young." - Daily Mail editorial

Baker: I stood by Thatcher

"When the knives were out, and the coup that would oust her was under way, "People told me: 'You must abandon her and drop her and move on.' But I stood by her." " - Interview with Lord Baker in The Guardian

Scots Tories back more devolution

"The pro-UK parties will all have put forward a vision of more powers for the Scottish Parliament before the Scottish Government produces its white paper on independence in the autumn this year, Tory Scotland Office minister David Mundell has claimed." - The Scotsman

HeathAllister Heath warns of triple dip

"Britain is dangerously close to being in a triple-dip recession – and partly as a result we are now seeing a three-speed world economy. We will know on Friday whether UK GDP shrank again in the last quarter of last year. Even if it did, as many expect – Capital Economics is predicting a contraction of 0.4 per cent, the NIESR of 0.3 per cent – we still won’t be in a proper triple-dip as two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP are required to constitute a recession. But it will still be awful news." - Allister Heath in City AM

  • House prices will reach pre-crash level by next year - Metro

Obama sworn in for a second term - BBC

Left wins narrow victory in Lower Saxony - BBC

>International: Narrow defeat for Merkel's CDU points to close federal election

Pay MPs the minimum wage - Ross Clark in The Times(£)

And finally...Labour question backfires

"Labour tabled a parliamentary question asking the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles ‘. . . how much his department has spent on potted plants and flowers since May 2010’. Pickles thundered in reply: ‘Unlike the last government, we do not spend taxpayers’ money on pot plants or the display of cut flowers.’ His green-fingered Labour predecessor managed to spend £7,000 a year on plants." - Daily Mail

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