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Newslinks for Sunday 17th February 2013

5.45pm MPsETC: Lib-Con relations are fracturing – in Eastleigh and elsewhere

3.30pm ToryDiary: When it comes to trust in politics, David Cameron should sweat the small stuff

IDS2pm WATCH: A pair of clips from Iain Duncan Smith's Marr Show appearance...

12.15pm LeftWatch: The Sun is starting to shine on Labour

ToryDiary: A crackdown on immigration and on benefits abuse? The Tory leadership ought to be careful…

DrOn Comment, Dominic Raab MP writes that we need to arm the little guy to take on big business: "Milton Friedman said ‘business corporations in general are not defenders of free enterprise. On the contrary, they are one of the chief sources of danger’. It is monopolies – not markets – that are tainting capitalism. We need a new wave of competition to take on the cartels, and put the paying customer in charge."

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

WATCH: Nick Clegg rallies his troops during a visit to Eastleigh

Lynton Crosby is urging David Cameron to crack down on immgration and on abuse of the benefits system

Lynton Crosby"David Cameron is to hold a secret Chequers summit on Thursday with his new Australian election chief to plan a crackdown on immigration and welfare scroungers to revive Tory support. ... Dubbed the ‘Fab Four’, the group is made up of Mr Cameron, George Osborne, Crosby and No 10 chief-of-staff Ed Llewellyn. ... [Mr Crosby] will tell fellow members of the ‘Fab Four’ that curbing immigration and abuse of state handouts is key to winning the Election." - Mail on Sunday

  • "Scrounging hate preacher Anjem Choudary has told fanatics to copy him by going on benefits — urging: 'Claim your Jihad Seeker’s Allowance.'" - Sun on Sunday
  • "The number of children being held in detention for immigration purposes more than doubled in a month, the latest official figures have revealed." - Independent on Sunday
  • "The UK Border Agency is under attack for ignoring demands from a cross-party Commons committee and the chief inspector of prisons to stop its 'inhumane' treatment of some deportees." - Observer

> Today on ToryDiary: A crackdown on immigration and on benefits abuse? The Tory leadership ought to be careful…

As Theresa May writes, "It's my job to deport foreigners who commit serious crime – and I'll fight any judge who stands in my way"

Theresa May"Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, foreigners who have committed serious crimes in this country, or who have attempted to cheat the immigration system, should be deported from Britain. ... Parliament wants that to happen, the public wants that to happen, and I want that to happen. But, too often, it is not happening." - Theresa May, Mail on Sunday

"A new law to stop foreign criminals avoiding deportation by having their claims to the human right to a 'family life' backed by courts is to be made" - Sunday Telegraph

  • "Ministers make noises about wanting to avoid a repeat of Labour’s disastrous mistake in 2004 – when it woefully underestimated the unprecedented numbers that would travel from Poland. ... But the suggestions being made by the Prime Minister for deterring immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria appear to have little chance of being implemented." - Mail on Sunday leader
  • "The truth is that although Mr Cameron talks tough about Bulgarians and Romanians who aren’t even here yet, he knows there is little under EU rules he can do to stop legal migrants claiming full benefits." - Sun on Sunday leader

George Osborne pledges a global effort to combat tax avoidance

Go"This year, the UK hosts the meeting of G8 leaders. We are determined to use our presidency to drive a serious debate on tax evasion and tax avoidance. This will include action to help developing countries collect tax that is due to them. And we will champion a new agenda of transparency and accountability in developing countries." - George Osborne, Observer

The Sunday Times calls on Mr Osborne to produce "a coherent vision for a sustained, enterprise-led recovery"

"The task for the government is to provide the right climate and incentives for the private sector to invest, to streamline the planning process so that it delivers speedy decisions and then to stand back. It is not happening and Britain is being held back as a result. Instead of grasping an opportunity we are muddling our way to failure. That must not become an epitaph for our country." - Sunday Times leader (£)

  • "The UK has one of the slowest economic growth rates of all the G20 countries, new figures revealed yesterday, as George Osborne met finance ministers in Moscow." - Independent on Sunday
  • "British inventors and entrepreneurs will be able to save thousands of pounds in the cost of patenting their new ideas under rules to be agreed by Vince Cable this week." - Independent on Sunday

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

Janet Daley versus Mr Osborne

JD"David Cameron and George Osborne, who would insist that they do – really, truly – understand the need to reduce the deficit, cut government spending and stimulate growth, have just overseen the most spectacular extension of the universal welfare system since the Attlee government. With their new social care programme, they have effectively created a parallel national care service to run alongside the National Health Service." - Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Doubts over the Chancellor's claim that schools are being protected from cuts

"A confidential paper drawn up by civil servants assessing the Department for Education's finances reveals that the Chancellor's promise in 2010 to increase the front-line schools budget in real terms for four years 'is not, in fact, what is happening'. ... The document says: 'Schools are subject to a real-terms cut in their funding because the rate of inflation is currently higher than forecast at the time of the Spending Review [in November 2010].'" - Independent on Sunday

The Observer keeps up its hunt for the people behind the @toryeducation tweets

Tory education"Michael Gove's Department for Education has taken steps to stop the Twitter feed @toryeducation – to which his own advisers have contributed – from issuing any more abuse against political opponents, critics and journalists. .. Senior government sources said the department had acted to ensure those contributing to the feed will now put out information in a neutral way and free of its previously abusive tone." - Observer

And the same paper contains a letter of complaint about Michael Gove's history curriculum

"...this month Gove offered his own version of British and, to an extent, world history in his new history curriculum. Inevitably, given the subject matter, it has provoked a furious row. The Royal Historical Society, senior members of the British Academy, the higher education group History UK and the Historical Association have all made public their objections on the letters page of the Observer." - Observer

  • "Teenagers will be forced to take dancing lessons in a huge shake-up for PE." - Sun on Sunday

Patrick McLoughlin is resisting plans for an 80mph speed limit on motorways

PM"David Cameron and George Osborne, the Chancellor, are both understood to be 'agnostic' about raising the speed limit and Mr McLoughlin is understood to believe there is no significant support for it within the cabinet, apart from Mr Hammond, who is now the Defence Secretary." - Sunday Telegraph

Jeremy Hunt writes in defence of the NHS whistleblowers

"The health secretary has written to the head of every NHS trust to urge them not use legal blocks on whistleblowers. ... In the letter he said it was vital to 'recognise and celebrate staff' who had the 'courage and professional integrity' to speak out over safety concerns in order to avoid a repeat of the Mid-Staffordshire scandal." - Observer

  • "Leaks, whistleblowers, and brave people speaking out are a mainstay of journalism. Without them, literally thousands of stories in the public interest could never have been told. But against whistleblowers, as against journalists themselves, the forces of state power and control are massing." - Andrew Gilligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • "What goes for the NHS should apply across the board: well-intentioned whistleblowers must be protected." - Sunday Telegraph leader

A Cabinet split over China?

China"The prime minister and chancellor are anxious to avoid escalating tension with the People’s Republic amid fears that increasing hostility could damage trade relations. ... But William Hague, the foreign secretary, insists Britain must not bow to 'coercive' behaviour by the Chinese and is refusing to reduce diplomatic pressure over human rights abuses." - Sunday Times (£)

An eight-year-old writes in protest at David Jones's recent comments about gay people

"The eight-year-old daughter of a lesbian couple has written a poignant letter to the cabinet minister David Jones in protest over his claim that gay people could not provide a 'warm and safe environment' for raising children." - Independent on Sunday

The Irish Government denies Owen Paterson's claims about the "local intelligence" that led to horsemeat tests

"Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney phoned his British counterpart last night to complain about claims that horsemeat DNA tests by the Irish authorities were based on ‘local intelligence’. ... The British Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson said in the House of Commons that the FSAI was acting on ‘local intelligence’ – claiming Mr Coveney had personally confirmed this to him." - Mail on Sunday 

  • "Owen Paterson has taken control of the EU meat crisis" - Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • "The meat scandal shows all that is rotten about our free marketeers" - Will Hutton, Observer

Francis Maude's new idea for curtailing Civil Service power

FM"The Government is looking to let members of the Cabinet hire their own 20-strong staff to drive through radical reforms. ... With relations between Whitehall mandarins and senior Coalition figures said to be at a new low, beefed up ministerial private offices is one of a range of ideas being considered by Francis Maude, the minister spearheading the Coalition’s civil service modernisation programme." - Sunday Telegraph

  • "The consensus that an impartial Civil Service is one of the strongest features of the British system has gradually broken down." - Iain Martin, Sunday Telegraph

Ministers lose battle to prevent part-time judges from claiming a pension

"Taxpayers will have to pay a massive £2 billion to thousands of part-time judges after Ministers lost a seven-year court battle to stop them claiming the right to a pension. ... More than 8,000 sitting and thousands more retired part-time judges will be entitled to a public-sector pension for the first time after the decision by Supreme Court judges." - Mail on Sunday

"An ex-Tory Cabinet minister is set to be arrested by police over claims he abused boys and raped a young girl" - Mail on Sunday

Charles Walker warns that many Parliamentarians "suffer in silence" when it comes to mental illness

"...many of my colleagues still suffer in silence, terrified to acknowledge that they are unwell, lest the stigma of mental illness ends their careers, or leads to ridicule. The fear of being “outed” looms large. ... After all, it remains the case that an MP sectioned for six months or longer automatically loses his or her seat." - Charles Walker, Sunday Telegraph

Boris will campaign in Eastleigh – is it all part of his "cunning plan"?

Boris"Boris Johnson’s new ‘masterplan’ to become Tory leader was revealed last night as he prepared to use the Eastleigh by-election this week to upstage globetrotting David Cameron. ... Rebel Conservative MPs plan to reopen the question of Mr Cameron’s leadership if, as many Tories privately fear, they do badly in Eastleigh, where disgraced former Lib Dem Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne was forced to resign." - Mail on Sunday

"Boris Johnson has hatched a cunning plan to be Tory leader — without being seen as knifing David Cameron. .. The London Mayor will wait for the PM to either lose the next election or scrape a narrow win. ... The party is then likely to pick a new caretaker chief — whom BoJo, 48, plans to replace. ... The mayor is keen to avoid Michael Heseltine’s blunder, when his disloyal challenge to Maggie Thatcher sank his leadership hopes in 1990." - Sun on Sunday

As Maria Hutchings is caught up in a row over state schooling

MH"Liberal Democrat campaigners produced material mocking Hutchings after she appeared to suggest that her son would need private schooling to achieve his dream of a career in medicine. ... Supporters of Hutchings pointed out, however, that both the Christmas tree and her comments about education should be seen in the context that she has autistic children with special educational needs." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "Nick Clegg has been accused of 'double standards' by a leading headmaster for considering independent education for his son while “'trying to limit' the number of university places open to private school pupils." - Sunday Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: Nick Clegg rallies his troops during a visit to Eastleigh

> Yesterday: 

And her rival John O'Farrell is caught up in a row of his own – over comments he made about Margaret Thatcher

"[Labour candidate] John O’Farrell felt a ‘surge of excitement’ when he heard of the attempted assassination [of Margaret Thatcher] in 1984 and was ‘disappointed’ the terrorists failed. ... The comments made by Mr O’Farrell, a comedian who wrote gags for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, appear in his book about his support for Labour, entitled Things Can Only Get Better." - Daily Mail

  • "The Eastleigh byelection is Labour's chance to win hearts and minds" - Geraint Davies MP, Observer

The Lib Dems really, really want to tax wealth

MoS"Families will be forced to pay tax on jewellery and other heirlooms under controversial new plans drawn up by the Liberal Democrats. ... Under the scheme, tax inspectors would get unprecedented new powers to go into homes and value rings, necklaces, paintings, furniture and other family treasures. ... Householders would be forced to pay a new ‘wealth’ levy on the assets – with the threat of fines for those who refused to let snoops value their possessions." - Mail on Sunday

"The Liberal Democrats are proposing a tax raid on the middle classes with a mansion 'super tax' that would hit a family’s property assets including any second home." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "However, the Lib Dems are not unhappy the mansion tax is again at the top of the political agenda. ... They also believe it will help persuade Cameron and Osborne that the Budget should result in the wealthy ‘paying more and being seen to pay more’." - James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

Vince Cable calls for a rethink of Funding for Lending

"Vince Cable has called for the Bank of England to conduct a review of its flagship £80bn lending scheme over fears that it is failing to improve the flow of funding to credit-starved small companies." - Sunday Telegraph

Sir Menzies Campbell asks, "Have the lessons of Iraq really be learnt?"

"In times of domestic austerity, it is tempting to look abroad for an assertion of our continued relevance. But Iraq changed the political imperative. No PM could now venture to go to war without the endorsement of a vote in the Commons, as British involvement in Libya showed. To obtain such support, the cause must be just, legal and winnable." - Menzies Campbell, Independent on Sunday

Rachel Reeves writes about Labour's 10p tax policy

10pGordon Brown decided to scrap the 10p tax rate, meaning some people on low incomes had a tax increase. ... Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have said this was the wrong decision. ... But saying sorry is not enough — we want to make it right by bringing back the 10p tax rate to help millions of working people and ensure our tax system is fairer." - Rachel Reeves, Sun on Sunday

  • "Backing a return of the 10p rate tweaks the nose of some Tory backbenchers who had been lobbying the chancellor to make just such a move, but the real symbolism lies in the implicit apology for Brown’s decision to scrap the band in the first place. It was a move that alienated core working-class Labour supporters and cost the party seats in 2010." - Rafael Behr, Sunday Times (£)
  • "Even if Miliband showed any sign of wanting to escape his Brownite inheritance, he cannot. Labour has been captured by late-Brown thinking and the Brownite apparatus." - John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • "Ed Miliband's 10p tax pledge is smart politics but poor policy" - Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

Labour keeps on attacking the new "spare room" measures

"Up to 50,000 criminals behind bars for up to six months will be exempt, but some 96,000 members of the armed forces on active service for the same time will lose out. ... Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: 'This government is so incompetent it is hammering soldiers but protecting prisoners.'" - Sun on Sunday

Sadiq Khan has recevied death threats for voting in favour of gay marriage

SK"Police have told Sadiq Khan, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, that the threats are credible enough that he should review the security around him and his family following the Commons vote." - Mail on Sunday

MPs block moves to raise food and drinks prices in Parliament

"Cheap grub and booze served up in the Commons had been set for their first hike in nearly three years. ... Soaring food costs meant an increase was needed to stop the taxpayers’ annual £5.8million subsidy rising. ... But the plan has been scuppered after a mutiny by MPs of all parties." - Sun on Sunday

A trustee of the Tate galleries warns: we'll have to start charging

"A trustee of the Tate galleries warned this weekend that if cuts to the arts continue at their current pace, it is 'likely' the Government will allow museums and arts spaces to start charging for entry in what he called a further 'brutalising' of the culture sector." - Independent on Sunday

"A third of hospitals were so full last month they had no beds available, a shock report revealed yesterday" - Sun on Sunday

Dr Rowan Williams admits he was unsurprised by the Pope's retirement - Mail on Sunday

And finally 1)... the haves and the Havants

"A council leader has been ridiculed by locals over his plans to change a borough’s name from Havant – because he says it sounds like ‘have not’. ... Anthony Briggs says he wants to ‘improve the area’s image by getting rid of its negative name’." - Mail on Sunday

And finally 2)... when Victoria Beckham visited No.10

VB"Victoria Beckham sneaked in the back door for Samantha Cameron’s No 10 fashion week reception — before leaving just 30 minutes later. ... Posh, 38, was driven to the rear entrance of the PM’s house — used by big-hitters such as royalty and US president Barack Obama — for Friday’s reception." - Sun on Sunday

And finally 3)... the PM does his bit for Comic Relief

"One Direction teamed up with David Cameron to promote this year’s Red Nose Day charity single at Downing Street. ... And the band even persuaded the PM to take a cameo role in the video for the song which gets its official release today." - Sun on Sunday

  • "David Cameron has come equal fifth in a poll which ranks the eight prime ministers of the past 50 years, ahead of only Sir John Major and Gordon Brown." - Independent on Sunday

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