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Newslinks for Saturday 16th February 2013

8pm ToryDiary: Labour lead down to 5% in new ComRes poll

5.45  ToryDiary: Lib Dems attack Maria Hutchings over her child's schooling

2.30pm ToryDiary: Eastleigh could give some early clues to tactical voting in the 2015 General Election

Rachelfrosh12.30pm MPsETC:  Rachel Frosh should not have been removed from the candidates list for saying Hitler was a Socialist

11.15am Local government: Fewer tower blocks should be a Conservative priority

ToryDiary: Britain rises to the top of KPMG's tax competitiveness survey

Harriet Baldwin MP on Comment: Use childcare subsidies to get women back to work

Also on Comment, Peter Walker says The police need protection from malicious complaints

OsborneGeorge Osborne urges global tax crackdown on multinationals

"Chancellor George Osborne has renewed his call for international action to tackle so-called "profit shifting" by multinational companies to avoid tax. Mr Osborne is meeting other finance ministers of the G20 group of major economies in Moscow. The UK, Germany and France want to reform rules which let firms switch
profits and costs between countries." - BBC

  • "Osborne, speaking in Moscow at a G20 meeting, was presented with a report from the OECD commissioned by him and for other finance chiefs, setting out scale of corporate tax avoidance and its causes. The report says international tax rules have remained largely unchanged for nearly a century since the formation of the League of Nations, and as a result "are failing to ensure that global companies pay a fair share"." - The Guardian

MailnhsJeremy Hunt says gagging NHS whistleblowers is unacceptable

"Jeremy Hunt has warned senior NHS executives there will be "consequences" if they have wrongly gagged a former manager from speaking out about concerns over patient safety. The Health Secretary said he was concerned that Gary Walker, the former chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, appeared to have been "leaned on"." - Daily Telegraph

  • "He says a culture of openness is vital if the NHS is to avoid mistakes seen at Stafford Hospital, where abuse and neglect led to hundreds of deaths." - BBC
  • "The head of the NHS was clinging to his job last night after fresh attacks from politicians and grieving families. They insist Sir David Nicholson should pay the price for presiding over the Mid Staffordshire hospital disaster that cost the lives of up to 1,200 patients." - Daily Mail

DjonesWelsh Secretary David Jones says gay couples should not adopt children

 "The Welsh secretary has said gay couples "clearly" cannot provide a "warm and safe environment" in which to raise children. On ITV Wales' Face to Face programme, David Jones said this was why he had voted against the government's legislation for same-sex marriage." - BBC

  • "Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall, said Jones's words showed the breadth of the gulf between some Tories and their leader. "I'm sure it will be a reminder to the prime minister that he's made a lot of progress in modernising the Conservative party but there's still rather a lot of work to do.." " - The Guardian

IndependentrbsGovernment considers free shares in RBS

"The Chancellor George Osborne has ordered Treasury officials to draw up plans for a Government “give-away” of Royal Bank of Scotland shares to boost the economy – and the Coalition's electoral prospects – by 2015.... every taxpayer or voter in Britain would be given shares in RBS that would be worth, according to one Treasury insider, between £300 and £400 at current prices." - The Independent

But Treasury Minister Sajid Javid says "no hurry"

"Mr Javid would not be drawn on the timetable for reprivatising RBS and Lloyds, into which a combined £65bn was injected to bail them out in the financial crisis, though he seems in no hurry. He said: “I don’t think it’s the job of government to own banks, [but] we want to get the best possible price for the taxpayer.” The banks’ market valuations are still about a third below those at which the government bailouts were priced." - Financial Times

Nadine Dorries to have her expenses investigated

"The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has said it will investigate expenses claims submitted by MP Nadine Dorries. Ms Dorries, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, faces an inquiry into her
spending on accommodation and travel. In a statement, IPSA said it had reason to believe she had received expenses "that should not have been allowed". But the MP, who was suspended from the Conservatives in November, said there was "no foundation" to the claims." - BBC

  • "Ms Dorries must now subject herself to a trial which is worse than anything she had to eat in the jungle." - The Sun Says

Lord Hanningfield wins £3,500 damages for wrongful arrest

"Disgraced Tory peer Lord Hanningfield has won £3,500 damages after suing Essex Police for unlawful arrest. The former leader of Essex County Council, appearing at the High Court in London, said he had been unlawfully arrested and detained in 2011. He was arrested for alleged fraudulent use of a county council credit card. That case was eventually dropped." - BBC

TelegraphhorseChildren given school meals with horse meat

"Councils throughout the country urgently withdrew processed beef dishes from menus on Friday after cottage pies containing horse meat were sent to 47 schools." - Daily Telegraph

  • "If there is an upside to this scandal, then it must surely be the opportunities it offers for farmers and butchers to woo customers away from supermarkets. On the other hand, it is perfectly reasonable for the supermarkets, with their massive purchasing power, to offer people cheap food – provided they take responsibility for finding out where it comes from." - leader Daily Telegraph
  • "You will have heard a lot about horse meat recently. Yet you almost certainly will not have heard of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002. But the regulation discloses the key fact about this scandal. Supported by Tony Blair’s government, Regulation 178 transferred responsibility for food safety from each member state to the EU. It set up the European Food Safety Agency. So the British Government is no longer responsible for the safety of the food that Britons eat." - Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris says Ed Miliband is better off without policies

"Ed Miliband is thoughtful, courteous, quick-minded and determined. His suits hang well. He has the customary number of fingers, ears, eyes, arms and legs...Minimalism could carry him into No 10. And once there, what might he do? We haven’t the least idea. And nor, I think, does he." - Matthew Parris The Times (£)

HalfonRobert Halfon is hero of the week in The Sun - again

"Ministers make the laws, backbenchers pass them. That's how it's gone in Westminster for centuries. But nobody told Rob Halfon that. Despite only being elected for the first time in 2010, the Conservative MP for Harlow has set the political agenda yet again this week with his crusade to bring back the 10p tax rate for very low earners." - The Sun

Daniel Hannan says the BNP is National Socialist - not "far right"

"When did you last hear a reference to the BNP on the BBC without the epithet 'far Right'? The terminology is deliberately tendentious. It doesn't make anyone think any less of the BNP; but it does make them think less of the mainstream Right, because it implies that the BNP manifesto is somehow a more intense form of conservatism." - Daniel Hannan Daily Telegraph

TmayTheresa May hits back at Keith Vaz over sexist tweet

"Theresa May has slapped down a senior Labour MP for making a jibe about her weight, saying female MPs would never "go around tweeting about" the appearance of their male colleagues. The Home Secretary hit back at Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, after he wrote on the internet this week that she was looking "thin" and questioned whether she was on a "new diet"." - Daily Telegraph

  • "The tyranny of looks damages public life, weakens debate and makes pretty poor satire. Personal remarks with no wit or purpose seem out of place in our deep and complex times. Even for the sake of an easy laugh, stop the finger-pointing. Take issue with Michael Gove’s mind, not his face." Janice Turner The Times (£)

Lib Dems seek "Obama magic" in Eastleigh

"The Liberal Democrats are hoping that software used in President Obama’s successful re-election campaign will be their secret weapon in the Eastleigh by-election. The Voter Activation Network program, modified for Britain, allows strategists to tailor canvassing to individual addresses, taking advantage of data collected by the party over two decades." - The Times (£)

John Redwood says the Government needs clearer messages

"What is the purpose of the health reforms? I say to offer more choice and better treatment.  What is the official official slogan? What is the attitude to taxation? Is it a necessary evil which on the whole does harm, or is it a moral crusade, a way of changing people’s lives and behaviour? What is the attitude to savings? Are savers good? If so, why are they penalised with ultra low interest rates and inflation? The Coalition needs some strong new high level messages." - John Redwood's Diary

David Cameron to tell India that Britain is "open for business"

"David Cameron – caught in the middle of a heated debate over immigration - will arrive in India next week with a message that Britain is "open for business". But he will be confronted by Indian business leaders urging him to reform visa rules they say are hindering trade between the two countries." - The Independent

SwollasatonSarah Wollaston says let candidates stand in pairs to allow MP job sharing - The Times (£)

MPs challenge tax exemptions for Duchy of Cornwall estate - The Guardian

Breaks on 80mph speed limit - Financial Times

Prince of Wales consulted on new laws - Daily Telegraph

Danny Alexander says there is no need for further cuts to the welfare budget - Daily Telegraph

Miliband to force Commons vote on Mansion TaxFinancial Times

And finally...Berlusconi upsets Boris

"Silvio Berlusconi has upset the Mayor of London by putting a photograph of him on an election leaflet. Boris Johnson has asked for the pamphlet, which shows him shaking hands with two candidates from Mr Berlusconi’s party, to be withdrawn." - The Times (£)

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