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Newslinks for Monday 18th February 2013

5.30pm LeftWatch: Labour should disown their candidate in Eastleigh

4.30pm WATCH: David Cameron: "There aren't nearly enough women around the Cabinet table"

3pm ToryDiary: Raising the personal allowance: in cooperation or in competition with the Lib Dems?

Cameron playing cricket1pm ToryDiary: David Cameron’s trip to India – and two examples of change

10.30am WATCH: David Cameron in India – "the sky is the limit" when it comes to trade

ToryDiary: Dominic Raab asks this year’s £3.6 billion question: when are the troops coming home?

MCMartin Callanan MEP's monthly letter to ConHome readers: We’ve improved the Common Fisheries Policy and debated with Hollande – now it’s time to vote on the EU budget

LeftWatch: 1% of Tim Montgomerie would like to see Ed Miliband's hands on the spending axe after the next election

Local Government: Council award ceremony makes false claim of approval from Pickles

The Deep End: Never mind the horsemeat, here’s the real danger on your dinner plate

Another NHS whistleblower speaks out against Sir David Nicholson...

NHS"A whistleblower wrote to the head of the NHS to warn his trust was ‘slipping into Mid Staffordshire territory’. ... David Bowles told Sir David Nicholson that United Lincolnshire Hospitals was being put under ‘huge pressure’ to meet non-urgent targets. ... But the 63-year-old was hounded out of his job as chairman just like Gary Walker, the trust’s former chief executive, who risked a £500,000 pay-off to break a gagging order last week." - Daily Mail

  • "A leading surgeon said the case of Gary Walker, who broke his silence to tell the Mail about high death rates, was just the tip of the iceberg." - Daily Mail

...as it emerges that there could be prosecutions

"Police and prosecutors are examining new evidence about the Stafford Hospital scandal that could lead to criminal charges, The Daily Telegraph has learnt." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Finally, it seems the police are taking notice of the appalling failures at Stafford Hospital, where hundreds of patients may have died needlessly because of neglect and lack of care." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "Only revolution can bring peace to the NHS" - Sean Worth, Daily Telegraph

Theresa May's battle with the judges rumbles on

TM"Mrs May will now pass a new law demanding that Article 8 of the Act – the right to a family life – should no longer be a bar to deportation. The change will not stop criminals lodging lengthy and expensive appeals. But it sends a clear message to judges that the human rights of criminals should not trump those of the public to be kept safe." - Daily Mail

"Senior legal figures have hit back at the Home Secretary after she accused them of making Britain’s streets more dangerous by ignoring rules aimed at deporting foreign criminals." - The Times (£)

  • "It was politicians who gave the judges this power. And it is only politicians who can finally solve this problem by leaving the Convention altogether." - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • "David Cameron should beware this war on ‘soft’ judges" - Independent leader
  • "Theresa May should not be frightened about anything in this part of the European Convention on Human Rights" - Guardian leader

David Cameron faces pressure over Pakistan as he visits India

Mumbai"David Cameron will face accusations that he is favouring Pakistan, as well as coming under pressure to do more to investigate a controversial deal to buy British-built helicopters, when he arrives in India today. ... Delhi was angered at Mr Cameron’s attempt to broker a deal between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Chequers this month and fears losing influence over Kabul if the effort succeeds." - The Times (£)

"Britain is to relax visa rules for Indian investors as David Cameron uses a trade visit to the subcontinent to ensure the UK does not lose out to European competitors in one of the world's fastest growing economies." - Guardian

  • "Mr Cameron must find a way to reinvigorate the close ties of the past while allowing India to celebrate the shift in the balance of power. India needs somebody, and we need it to need us." - Times leader (£)
  • "Mr Cameron is keen to increase the current total of 40,000 Indian students studying in higher education in Britain, but the number is set to fall by a quarter, due to immigration caps." - Anthony Seldon, The Times (£)
  • "Why we owe a debt to India" - Dean Nelson, Daily Telegraph

And Mr Cameron admits that he has not appointed enough women to his Cabinet - Daily Telegraph

IDS attacks those who think they're "too good" to participate in Work Experience programmes...

IDS"In a defiant intervention on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, Mr Duncan Smith made it clear he would not back down. ... Denying claims of ‘slave labour’, he said ... 'Most young people love this programme and I am sorry but there are a group of people out there who think they are too good for this kind of stuff.’" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Richard Royal on Comment: The Government should be doing more to help job-seekers into voluntary roles

...and wants to tighten the rules for immigrants claiming benefits

"Ministers will ‘shut the door’ to migrants wanting to come to Britain to live on benefits, Iain Duncan Smith claimed yesterday. ... He said he was determined to tighten the rules around eligibility for welfare benefits before a predicted influx of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria next year." - Daily Mail

  • "So tell us, IDS . . . when is the PM going to get round to this? He can’t argue with Brussels while he is touring India." - Sun leader
  • "Bogus agents are going online to block-book swaths of appointments for the UK Border Agency’s same-day visa service and then selling them for up to £200 each." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

A troubleshooter has been brought in to help deliver the Government's benefit reforms

Dirty HArry"One of Whitehall’s most powerful troubleshooters has been drafted in to take charge of the government’s benefits shake-up as ministers work to keep the Universal Credit project on track. ... David Pitchford, executive director of the Major Projects Authority, which is charged with driving delivery across Whitehall, will on Monday take the helm of the scheme, which is thought to be on the government’s 'watch list' of potentially risky enterprises." - Financial Times (£)

  • Atos subcontracts tests for new disability benefit to NHS - Guardian
  • Cancer patients face cash cut under benefits bill, say charities - Guardian

Claims that the Government was warned about horsemeat two years ago

Horse"Explosive claims that ministers were warned about horse meat two years ago are to be investigated. ... Former Food Standards Agency manager John Young said he raised concerns in 2011. ... He claims he told ex-agriculture minister Sir Jim Paice that horse flesh with possible drug residue could get into the human food chain." - The Sun

  • "Random testing is to be introduced for meat products supplied to supermarkets and caterers after the Environment Secretary admitted that often 'nobody”' is checking that they contain what the label says." - Daily Telegraph
  • Food poverty "puts UK's international human rights obligations in danger" - Guardian

> Today on the Deep End: Never mind the horsemeat, here’s the real danger on your dinner plate

Michael Fallon moots a stock market floatation for Royal Mail

"A stock market float of Royal Mail is a leading option as the government finalises its plan to privatise the state-owned postal operator, a minister said. ... Michael Fallon, the Conservative business minister, told the Financial Times that the buoyancy of the stock market could make an initial public offering attractive. ... 'There are certain advantages in an IPO and it’s one of the leading options,' he said. 'The markets look pretty open at the moment – but they open and shut.'" - Financial Times (£)

Grant Shapps defends Maria Hutchings' remarks about state schooling

MH"Tory chairman Grant Shapps last night defended the party’s by-election candidate after she said she was considering sending her son to private school. ... And he warned Nick Clegg against trying to exploit the comments by Maria Hutchings for political gain." - Daily Mail

  • "The Conservatives have been forced on to the defensive in Eastleigh byelection campaign after doctors signed a letter condemning its candidate for suggesting the local state schools were not good enough for her son who wanted to become a surgeon." - Guardian

Boris says London's cable car is "doing brilliantly", despite criticism - The Times (£)

Dominic Raab: The UK needs spending cuts and less red tape

"If Britain needs a stimulus, it must be paid for and targeted for maximum impact. The answer is further cuts that do not damage growth or reduce frontline public services ... Options include cutting the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ... merging the two environment departments; returning international development to the Foreign Office; and abolishing the Department for Culture, Media and Sport." - Dominic Raab, Financial Times (£)

> Today on ToryDiary: Dominic Raab asks this year’s £3.6 billion question: when are the troops coming home?

> Yesterday, by Dominic Raab MP on Comment: We need to arm the little guy to take on big business

"The Tories aren't meant to be the nice party, they are meant to be the competent party" - Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Guardian

Tim Montgomerie: All good Tories should support a mansion tax...

Tim"A modern conservatism will, in other words, have big ambitions to rebalance society and the economy. It will respond to the crisis of capitalism; it won’t hide away from it. It will ally itself to the rising class; not to the vested interests. To those earning income; not to those sitting on unearned wealth." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

But Boris disagrees

"At last we can see exactly what kind of a Labour leader Ed Miliband proposes to be – and he is taking his party right back to the politics of envy and nihilistic class war that kept them out of office for a generation. The proposal for a new tax on people’s homes is ill-thought-out, unjust and un-British. It is colossally unfair on Londoners, since the vast majority of homes that would currently qualify are in the capital..." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

While Vince Cable says: We'd vote with Labour to get a mansion tax

Cable"Liberal Democrat ministers may join forces with Labour in a Commons vote calling for a £2 million mansion tax, Vince Cable revealed yesterday. ... The Business Secretary’s provocative suggestion – which could split the Coalition – came as it emerged that the Lib Dems are considering widening the scope of their mansion tax proposals to include second homes and buy-to-let properties." - Daily Mail

"Liberal Democrat activists have challenged Nick Clegg to propose a series of new taxes on the rich as part of a tougher assault on wealth in the party’s 2015 manifesto." - The Times (£)

  • "What sort of message do Labour and the Liberals think their crude posturing sends to the entrepreneurs this country so badly needs to drag us out of recession?" - Daily Mail leader 

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Lib-Con relations are fracturing – in Eastleigh and elsewhere

Nick Clegg to warn that Britain's economy is too dependent on London

"In a stark assessment of the country’s predicament, Mr Clegg will warn that in contrast to our competitors the UK does not have cities outside London that meaningfully contribute to economic growth. He will call on the City to do much more to support the wider British economy and spend less time concentrating on being a global financial centre separate from the rest of the country." - Independent

The FT reckons that Labour has yet to earn trust on the economy

FT"It may be wise tactics to hold back on publishing policy initiatives until closer to the election, yet Mr Miliband will only make the case for a Labour government if the groundwork has been done. Voters need to know what kind of economy Mr Miliband envisages for Britain and how it will be sustained. Initiatives that tinker at the margins will not suffice." - Financial Times leader (£)

  • "All these shortcomings of Nick Clegg's personal allowance policy also apply to Ed Miliband's 10p band, which is a somewhat more complicated means of achieving the same thing, or – to be blunt – of achieving not very much." - Guardian leader

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: The Sun is starting to shine on Labour

Sadiq Khan questions whether cautions are being used effectively

"Thousands of crooks let off with cautions have become prolific offenders, alarming figures show. ... Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan, who unearthed the stats, said: 'The public will rightly ask whether cautions are being used effectively.'" - The Sun

"The Left should learn about plain speaking from George Galloway," says Owen Jones

"Gorgeous George is one of the most charismatic politicians of our time, but also one of the most divisive, and still manages to win over the audience. You don’t have to like him; but, if you want to change the world, you do have to learn from him." - Owen Jones, Independent

Ed FlagOnly one-in-three people wants the UK to remain in Europe, according to FT poll - Financial Times (£)

  • "For these reasons the [European] parliament cannot accept the current budget proposal as it will not strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy but weaken it." - Martin Schulz, Financial Times (£)

> Today, by Martin Callanan MEP: We’ve improved the Common Fisheries Policy and debated with Hollande – now it’s time to vote on the EU budget

Britain is selling £millions-worth of arms to Sri Lanka, reports the Independent

"Britain is selling millions of pounds worth of small arms and ammunition to Sri Lanka despite the country’s dire human rights record, The Independent can disclose today. ... Figures taken from the Government’s own database show how the authorities in Colombo have gone on a buying spree of British small arms and weaponry worth at least £3m." - Independent

  • "Britain simply courts ridicule and bolsters a reputation for hypocrisy by denouncing a government for egregious violations of human rights while at the same time selling it guns." - Independent leader

Brighton and Hove council is to open "gender neutral" toiletsDaily Mail

"Train company bosses are enjoying huge salaries at a time when six out of ten passengers are dissatisfied with their train company, damning new figures reveal today" - Daily Mail

BB"The use of bed and breakfasts to house homeless families beyond the legal time limit has risen by 800% since the coalition took office" - Guardian

Five senior executives at RBS are in line for a £6 million share windfall - Daily Mail

"Anjem Choudary yesterday claimed his 'Jihad Seeker’s Allowance' rant had been misunderstood — then hailed Osama bin Laden his hero" - The Sun

"Will I, or won't I? I don't know" – Paul Ryan on whether he'll run for the Presidency in 2016 - Daily Mail

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