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Newslinks for Monday 4th March 2013

5.45pm ToryDiary: More signs that David Cameron’s EU promises aren’t quite connecting

3.45pm David T C Davies MP on Comment: Conservatives fought for the freedom of countries such as Hungary – we should be proud

Carswell2.30pm WATCH: Are Douglas Carswell and Robert Halfon rebels? Hear what they have to say...

1.15pm ToryDiary: Oliver Letwin and Danny Alexander’s quiet revolution

10.45am Anthony Peto QC on Comment: A very un-British Bill – my response to Robert Buckland MP

ToryDiary: To Hell with the Lib Dems? Nope...

Also on ToryDiary, take part in our survey: Which of the following three tasks will be the hardest for the Conservative Party to accomplish at the next election? 

KEnyaGarvan Walshe writes the latest Foreign Policy column: Will Kenya’s democracy hold?

Dylan Sharpe on Comment: Eastleigh shouldn't change Tory minds about AV

Ben Locker on Local Government: Colchester Council keeping residents in the dark

The Deep End: Roger Scruton versus the post-modern Conservative Party

Calls for David Cameron and George Osborne to cut taxes

"David Cameron’s former tax adviser Lord Forsyth said a package of radical tax cuts was needed to stimulate Britain’s ‘flatlining’ economy. ... Former minister Tim Loughton said the Government needed to start ‘doing some of the thing that people voted Conservative for at the last election. That’s about reducing taxes rather than coming up with new taxes, it’s about recognising families are having a tough time and recognising marriage and families in the tax system which we said we would do and haven’t.’" - Daily Mail

PP"Tory MPs on the Free Enterprise Group will today heap more pressure on Mr Osborne to slash red tape and cut taxes. ... Many MPs want him to cut fuel duty and energy bills to ease living costs." - The Sun
  • "If the Chancellor wants a big idea for the Budget, it’s actually a simple one. Two words: cut taxes." - Priti Patel, Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday, LISTEN: Lord Forsyth tells Radio 4 that George Osborne must start cutting taxes

And the intra-Cabinet battle over spending cuts continues

"After an outspoken intervention by the Defence Secretary, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary became the latest to be identified as part of the “National Union of Ministers” — a Cabinet faction determined to protect their spending against the Treasury’s demand for an extra £10 billion in cuts in 2015-16." - The Times (£)

  • "The latest front in Operation Divide and Rule sees soldiers being used to fight a political battle" - Owen Jones, Independent

Will "entitlement cards" form part of Mr Cameron's crackdown on health tourism?

ID card"Reforms under discussion could mean immigrants having to wait six months or even a year before being granted habitual residency and therefore hospital care. ... But MPs say the scheme can only work if those entitled to free care can prove it. This would involve them presenting a card at the point of treatment. ... However, the idea could spark civil liberty concerns akin to the opposition to Labour’s plans to impose an identity card." - Daily Mail

  • "Titus Corlatean, the Romanian foreign minister, said that he had 'received official assurances from the British Government' that EU rules allowing migrants to claim benefits will be adhered to by the UK." - Daily Telegraph

Backbenchers want the Tory leadership to ditch the Human Rights Act now, not in 2015

MF"Backbenchers welcomed the commitment to scrapping the HRA but do not want to wait until after the 2015 election. ... Senior MP Mark Field said that if Mrs May and Mr Grayling were serious they should bring forward a Bill, defying Liberal Democrat objections." - Daily Mail

  • "Leading lawyers and human rights advocates said ministers risked making the UK a pariah state alongside Belarus – the only European country that has not signed the European Convention on Human Rights." - Independent
  • "Nick Clegg is expected to trigger a fresh coalition row on Monday when he tells the prime minister he will not back Conservative moves to opt out of European justice measures without signing back up to the European arrest warrant." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

A cross-party rebellion over secret courts is expected today – and the rebels have new ammunition

AMMo"Controversial plans for secret court hearings will cost the taxpayer millions more to implement than they will save, it emerged yesterday. ... The revelation – contained in the Government’s own impact assessment – came as ministers braced themselves for a cross-party rebellion on the issue in the Commons today." - Daily Mail

  • "It’s hard not to conclude that the Justice and Security Billl is less about protection of state secrets than keeping the activities of intelligence agencies from the light of day" - Donald Macintyre, Independent
  • "If the Liberal Democrats are a party of serious purpose, they cannot sit at desks in Whitehall and acquiesce in such things, parking civil liberties until the election campaign." - Guardian leader

But Julian Brazier, with others, is defending the Bill

JB"SAS and MI6 officers are being betrayed by a justice system which helps terror suspects make bogus claims, a senior Tory warns today. ... MP Julian Brazier is urging all parties to back the Justice and Security Bill, which will let agents defend themselves at closed court hearings in cases of national security." - The Sun

"A former Lord Chief Justice is backing plans for 'secret trials' after changes by ministers to give control to judges over when closed hearings can be held." - The Times (£)

  • "The coalition's justice and security bill, which enters its Commons report stage on Monday, is very controversial. But that says more about the climate of debate around these issues than it does about the bill. In fact, when enacted, it will finally give both parliament and the courts the tools they need to hold the agencies properly accountable." - Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Guardian
> Yesterday, by Dr Liam Fox MP on Comment: The Justice and Security Bill will help keep us safe

Oliver Letwin is leading a drive to monitor the effectiveness of policy

"The initiative, to be unveiled by Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, and Oliver Letwin, minister for government policy, involves setting up four independent institutions which will be responsible for gathering, assessing and sharing evidence to guide the development of policies in four key areas." - Financial Times (£)

  • Government to try 'crowd sourcing' key policies to see 'What Works' - Independent

Once again, William Hague suggests that Britain could help arm the Syrian rebels

WH"Mr Hague acknowledged past reluctance to arm the rebels was partly because of the danger that weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist extremists. ... But Mr Hague yesterday suggested the calculation about whether to arm the rebels was changing." - Daily Mail

  • Vince Cable and David Willetts write to Universities UK calling on vice-chancellors to help Syrian students - Guardian

Tim Loughton wonders whether the police wanted to have a pop at him, à la Plebgate

"A former minister will ask a chief constable today if there was an 'element of "plebgate"' in the force’s decision to launch a six-month racism investigation into his description of a gypsy as looking "unkempt". ... Tim Loughton, the ex-Children’s Minister, said he wanted to know if officers simply wanted to 'have a pop at a Tory MP' as they carried out the inquiry which saw him interviewed under caution by detectives for 90 minutes last August." - Daily Telegraph

Boris wants London to be a "smart city"

Boris"Boris Johnson has launched a drive to turn London into a 'smart city' that uses technology to improve its transport system, administration and infrastructure. ... The London mayor announced the creation of a board led by David Gann, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Imperial College London, to examine how the city can use technology and data to work more efficiently and become a better place to live." - Financial Times (£)

And he confronts Europe's dead cats

"In Brussels the cold autocrats have no answer to Portuguese pain. They cannot solve the problem. They are the problem. So what can they do? They chuck a dead cat on the table, and blame the bankers in London." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie says that Mr Cameron has to woo back traditional Tory supporters

TM"...Mr Farage could never have achieved lift-off without Mr Cameron. UKIP is flourishing because Mr Cameron systematically neglected and sometimes abused centre-right voters from the earliest days of his leadership. ... No other successful conservative politician has neglected core supporters in these ways." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • "The [Conservative] party already has many of the right policies. But it must show voters both that it knows what it is for – namely, improving their lives and their finances – and, just as important, that it is focused ruthlessly and exclusively on achieving that goal." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "If the PM wants to win back the confidence of Tory MPs, he must first get voters to trust him again" - James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • Melanie Phillips: Does Dave know where the common ground is? - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Cameron adopts ConservativeHome's "And" Theory of Conservatism

But Nigel Farage has his eye on them – and others – too

Farage"A vote for UKIP is not a vote for Labour by splitting the Tory vote, or a vote for Lib Dems by taking Labour votes. A vote for UKIP is an endorsement of our policies and the fact that we stand up for otherwise ignored voters." - Nigel Farage, The Times (£)

  • "To look closer at the UKIP prospectus is to step into a parallel world." - Times leader (£)
  • "The stage for 2015 is now set. Who will be our Beppe Grillo and tell the old political class to Vaffanculo? Jeremy Clarkson? Ricky Gervais? Katie Price? ... Don’t laugh. Because if Clegg, Cameron and Miliband can’t find a way to reconnect and start giving it to the voters straight — there most certainly will be one." - Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun

> Yesterday:

The Lib Dems want a decarbonisation target – and quick

"A new Tory-Liberal Democrat flashpoint has emerged with senior Liberal Democrats revealing their intention to join a cross-party rebellion to demand a quickly established decarbonisation target for the power sector. ... The rebellion is expected in a key Commons vote this month with the Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron, indicating he will back the move, vowing he will 'maintain the pressure on the government as best he can'." - Guardian

  • "Ministers must stop 'crossing their fingers' and develop a 'plan B' energy strategy in case nuclear plants are not built on time, a group of MPs warns on Monday" - Financial Times (£)

Vince Cable attacks the Tories' immgration policy... or does he?

Cable"Vince Cable has criticised the inclusion of overseas students in the UK’s net migration target as 'irrational' and 'potty' ... But Mr Cable – who has in the past angered Tory colleagues with salvos against their immigration cuts – was careful to blame the UN, rather than fellow ministers, for what he sees as a statistical anomaly." - Financial Times (£)

Will Labour propose a sliding scale for capital gains tax?

"The Telegraph understands that Labour’s review, headed by Sir George Cox, the former director-general of the Institute of Directors, will recommend that capital gains tax is levied on a sliding scale, with a 50 per cent rate on profits made within the first year of an investment being made but falling to 10 per cent if an investment is held for a decade. Currently, the tax is typically levied at a flat rate of 28 per cent." - Daily Telegraph

Labour Party analysis finds that, since 2010, wages have fallen faster in Britain than in most other European countries - Daily Mail

"The EU's new £420million-a-year foreign ministry has been lambasted as wasteful and clueless in a damning report from legal experts" - Daily Mail

Hospitals with the fewest consultants have the highest death rates - Daily Mail

"Hospitals may be paying thousands of pounds to a private firm to cover up their patient death rates." - Daily Mail
  • "Sacking the NHS chief would change nothing" - Lord Darzi, The Times (£)

"The sums the NHS spent on buying care from the private or voluntary sectors rose by more than 10 per cent last year, according to data published on Monday" - Financial Times (£)

SunThe Queen is in hospital with suspected gastroenteritis - Everywhere

And finally 1)... did Cherie Blair curtsey to the Queen?

"Asked whether she curtseyed, her spokeswoman refused to answer. Pressed on why Cherie, 58, ticked the ‘no publicity’ box, her spokeswoman would only say: ‘Mrs Blair was deeply honoured to receive her CBE from the Queen, and she felt this was a personal occasion to be shared with the family.’" - Daily Mail

And finally 2)... Sir Gus O'Donnell (former bureaucrat) says there's no shame in being a bureaucrat

"Calling someone a bureaucrat should not be a term of abuse. Without bureaucracy we have chaos and anarchy. Bureaucratic systems are used by governments and companies alike to bring order and efficiency." - Gus O'Donnell, Financial Times (£)

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