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Newslinks for Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Midnight ToryDiary: Cameron's historic pledge to Britain --- Vote Conservative and you'll get an In/Out referendum on Europe

10pm MPsETC: Derek Thomas selected to contest St Ives in 2015

6.30pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: Mid-term splits don't lose elections, but wrong policies and strategies do

Defence cuts4.30pm WATCH: A defence cuts double-bill...

3.15pm Bendict Rogers on Comment: UK should lead the way on North Korea: accountability, information, critical engagement

1.30pm Daniel Hamilton on Comment: We should register our discontent about Azerbaijan's human rights record

12.45pm ToryDiary: Welcome to Gloomsville, George Osborne

Noon Local Government: The Left's self-serving defence charity "sock puppets"

10am Laura Sandys MP on Comment: In Europe, who would want to be the Odd Man Out?

ToryDiary: David Cameron's running battle with military chiefs

Weekly letterGreg Clark MP's latest letter from a Treasury minister: It’s not all about ‘shirkers’ and ‘strivers’ – we must be the party of ordinary working people

Gareth Johnson MP on Comment: Let's balance the scales of justice

International: Thirteen thoughts on the future of American conservatism

Local Government: Councils advised to scrap "Equalities Impact Assessments" 

The Deep End: For economic growth you first need to have the potential for growth

WATCH: David Cameron: "This evolving threat demands an international response"

David Cameron offers further support to the French in Mali – could more follow?

Times cover"Britain is to send spy planes, unmanned drones and special forces to Mali to ‘find and dismantle’ the Al Qaeda network behind the slaughter in Algeria. ... The Prime Minister said the UK must ‘act with an iron resolve’ to tackle what he called a ‘generational struggle’ against the ‘scourge of terrorism’ after the Algerian attack." - Daily Mail

"The Times understands that units from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF are on 'high readiness' to deploy if requested in support of France, which is attempting to repel Islamist extremists from the north of the country." - The Times (£)

"Defence bosses want to block David Cameron’s bid to join a war against al-Qaeda in North Africa." - The Sun

  • Prince Harry reveals that he has killed enemy forces in Afghanistan - Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: 

> Yesterday, by Mark Field MP on Comment: Will the Amenas gas plant siege be the first skirmish of many?

And the papers respond

  • Janan Ganesh"In a sense, [Mr Cameron] is a better custodian of Mr Blair’s foreign policy than Mr Blair himself. He buys the former prime minister’s basic arguments but filters them through a very Tory temperament before taking action. It is hard to imagine him overreaching." - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times (£)
  • "As Cameron moves onto dangerous terrain, he is lucky to have a Foreign Secretary with experience but no political ambition" - Steve Richards, Independent
  • "Nobody could call the War on Terror a crusade today. It’s a cynical, weary, jaded, compromised and compromising thing, unconcerned with human destiny and concerned only with human safety. Think of all the fuss we could have skipped if that was how we’d started out." - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • "The juxtaposition of the hostage crisis and the Europe debate highlights a clash between new and old politics within Mr Cameron." - Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • "A year ago, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were cheerleaders for the Arab Spring which, for all the understandable euphoria at the time, did so much to destabilise the region." - Daily Mail leader

That Europe speech will be delivered tomorrow...

DC 2"David Cameron will finally deliver his long-delayed speech promising a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union on Wednesday, Downing Street has announced. ... Mr Cameron will now stay closer to home to set out his European vision and make the speech in central London ahead of appearing at Prime Minister’s Question Time." - Independent

  • Then there is the immediate challenge of his Europe speech tomorrow. ... The indications are that it will serve for now, but he has opened a debate about what he can and cannot achieve in Brussels that will dog him to the end of this parliament." - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • "British foreign policy in Europe has long been marked by a desire to intrude upon, if not break down, the Franco-German duumvirate" - Dominic Lawson, Independent

> Yesterday:

...as Conservative europhiles decide to back a referendum

"Conservative europhiles are to swing behind David Cameron’s call for a referendum on the European Union amid fears that failing to embrace the merits of a public vote would hurt the 'yes' campaign. ... A group of about 30 MPs who make up the pro-European wing of the party will meet next week to discuss their approach to such a vote." - The Times (£)

  • Eric Pickles appeals for Tory unity over PM's Europe speech - Daily Telegraph

What is the Prime Minister's "golden thread"?

Golden thread"The international development committee has called on David Cameron, the UK prime minister, to give a 'clear and consistent' definition of what he means by the 'golden thread' of development as he seeks to influence global policy on poverty reduction." - Guardian

Chris Grayling highlights the cost of legal aid to the taxpayer – as he looks to restrict it

"Two gangs of Al Qaeda terrorists who plotted to inflict mass murder on the British public shared more than £30 million in legal aid, it emerged last night. ... Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the revelations: 'Of course everyone deserves a defence. ... But when you look at costs involved in some cases, you have to ask whether we can afford to provide this level of support in criminal trials.'" - Daily Mail

  • "Justice works across borders without Brussels" - Dominic Raab, The Times (£)

SnowfallMichael Gove urges schools to stay open in the snow - The Times (£)

  • Snowball fight! Headmaster condemns "over-cautious" schools for shutting their gates at the first sign of bad weather - Daily Mail
  • "Be honest, how many times can you remember your old school being closed because of the weather? Once? Twice? Never?" - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

Exeter University backs free school for maths - Guardian

> Yesterday, by Dr Owen Corrigan on Comment: Let's focus on high quality technical and vocational education

"Charities afraid to challenge public policy amid retribution fears" - Guardian

Nick Boles wants offices to be converted into homes

Boles"Developers will be able to convert offices into flats without council permission under government plans to deliver more new homes. ... Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, will announce changes to the planning system this week designed to increase the number of homes coming on to the market in towns and cities." - The Times (£)

Making workers work for the universal credit

"Nearly 1m people who are in work and claim benefits may be required to work longer, increase their earnings or face losing access to the new universal credit, two welfare ministers, Lord Freud and Mark Hoban, said on Monday. ... The state's capacity to ask more of those in work and those that are self-employed is likely to be transformed by the introduction of universal credit in April, the ministers said at a Policy Exchange event." - Guardian

Planning experts write to Patrick McLoughlin – and urge his Department to back up claims with proof

"Ministers should stop promising that controversial road-building and high speed rail schemes will give economic boosts to Britain unless they can present real ‘evidence’ to back up their claims, the UK’s  top transport planners said today. ... The broadside came in a letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin from 32 leading professors of transport and the two major professional bodies which together represent more than 3,000 UK transport planners." - Daily Mail

  • Ministers under pressure to fund separate cycle lanes - The Times (£)

The expected level of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria: will the Government soon have a figure?

Romania and Bulgaria"Despite ministers’ silence on the estimated figure, the Financial Times understands that the Foreign Office has commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to prepare an independent estimate which, officials say, will be published 'sooner rather than later'." - Financial Times (£)

  • "Ministers are under pressure to allow migrant workers from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey into the UK to mitigate a predicted shortage of fruit pickers" - Financial Times (£)

"Plans to fast-track a royal succession Bill before the birth of the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were attacked by peers last night." - The Times (£)

  • "An unseemly rush to alter the succession" - Daily Telegraph leader

"The growth of wind farms and other renewable energy projects is heading for a sharp slowdown after 2020 according to official forecasts" - Financial Times (£)

Labour would reverse the Government's benefit uprating policy... oh, no, actually, maybe they wouldn't

Timms"Ed Miliband was forced to slap down his own welfare spokesman last night after he appeared to commit Labour to a £2 billion a year increase in benefits to ensure handouts rise faster than wages. ... Speaking in the Commons last night the shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said it was Labour’s policy to increase benefits by the rate of inflation each year, even though wages have crept up by a lower amount for years." - Daily Mail

Diane Abbott to warn about the "pornification" of children's lives

"Children are being seriously damaged by the ‘pornification’ of British culture, a senior Labour figure will warn today. ... After David Cameron’s new childhood guru Claire Perry warned on Sunday that parents must challenge children about their text and internet messages, Miss Abbott will agree that there is a pernicious culture of ‘sexting, slut-shaming and striptease’ in schools." - Daily Mail

Denis MacShane faces a renewed police investigation into his expenses - The Times (£)

The Director of Public Prosecutions vows to get tough on tax evaders – and not just the rich ones

£coins"Middle earners who dodge tax will be targeted in a major crackdown by the Crown Prosecution Service. ... Keir Starmer will say it is a ‘long-standing myth’ that tax evasion – by outright fraud or concealment – is a victimless crime." - Daily Mail

  • "A group of top finance directors has joined the fray as big business seeks to confront intense public scrutiny of corporate tax planning, saying companies’ tax treatment has undergone a 'dramatic change' in recent years and that the overall burden they face has increased." - Financial Times (£)

"Thousands of patients are dying in hospitals each year because there are not enough doctors or nurses, research shows." - Daily Mail

  • Hospital pays £1,800 a day for a nurse in NHS staff crisis - Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: Israel’s moderate voices won't be heard at this general election - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

And finally... Barack Obama soaks in the view

Obama"...as [Barack Obama] left his public swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol building early this afternoon, he was seen pausing a moment to look back towards the crowds and reflect on the vast sea of people before him. ... 'I want to look out one more time because I'm not going to see this again,' he said quietly to someone next to him as he took in the spectacular view." - Daily Mail

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

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