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Newslinks for Maundy Thursday 2013

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8.30pm WATCH: The Queen hands out Maundy money at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

5pm ToryDiary: Give your view on the budget in ConservativeHome's monthly survey

3.15pm ToryDiary: Why Samantha Cameron went to Syria

1.30pm MPsETC: Mixed reaction from Conservative MPs to Cameron's micro-shuffle

11am Professor Guglielmo Verdirame on Comment asks: "Where has British liberalism gone? Labour’s liberal wing seems to have disappeared – crushed by two decades of New Labour conformism. Even left-wing intellectuals have largely gone quiet on the dangers of Leveson, perhaps reassured by the stance of The Guardian and The Independent." Leveson "ethics officers" - coming soon to a newspaper near you.

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at ToryDiary: Two of the Conservative Party's success stories get bigger roles: Fallon and Hayes

ToryDiary: "The average council tax bill has gone down in real terms by 9.7 per cent"

Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Prohibition, SNP-style. Failing schools, Scotland-style. And secret agents of British imperialism revealed

Patrick McLoughlin on Comment: The future for railways is bright. That's why it's right to put the East Coast Mainline back in private hands

Local Government: Why is Eric Pickles still giving the Local Government Association £25.5 million of our money?

The Deep End: The poor should save more and the rich should save less

May loses Abu Qatada appeal

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 07.50.58"The home secretary is now running out of legal options after three appeal court judges unanimously dismissed her challenge, ruling that “torture is universally abhorred as an evil” and that the UK cannot deport Abu Qatada if there is a risk that evidence gained through forced or violent confessions will be used against him in a trial. Successive British governments have battled for more than a decade to deport the cleric, who is wanted in Jordan on terror charges and has been in and out of prison since his first arrest in 2001." - Financial Times (£)

  • Anjem Choundary won't face charges - The Sun
  • Sweden's Reinfeldt unhappy with Cameron over immigration speech - Financial Times (£)
  • Ministers planning immigration crackdown on 'education tourists' - The Guardian

Dominic Raab: Abu Qatada is still here because our leaders rolled over

"The Home Office should have revived its deportation order and made a virtue of rejecting the Strasbourg ruling as a usurpation of British democratic authority. Our courts would have been unlikely to halt the deportation. Instead the Government rolled over. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, disclosed last December that “a decision was taken to adopt the test laid down ... by the Strasbourg court” because otherwise “it would be open to Abu Qatada to go back to Strasbourg”. That’s why his deportation was lost in the Court of Appeal yesterday." - The Times (£)

  • "A British court’s refusal to allow the deporting of Abu Qatada offends common sense" - Times Editorial (£)
  • "The Abu Qatada saga has infuriated the public and tarnished the image of the judiciary" - Daily Telegraph Editorial

Treasury seeks to scale spending back by 10% more after next election

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 07.53.20"The Treasury wrote to most of the Cabinet ahead of a spending review in June telling them they must prepare to find further savings, on top of those they have already made, as another £11.5 billion is cut from public spending. Protests from a so-called ‘national union of ministers’, who have complained they cannot countenance fresh cuts, appear to have fallen largely on deaf ears." - Daily Mail

"One in three councils ignore Pickles's plea to freeze bills"

"In total, 124 councils are increasing their bills – some by nearly 4 per cent. Many households will be forced to pay up to £50 more on their annual bills, despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that they should not go up. Councils must call a local referendum to get the approval of voters if they want to put bills up by more than 2 per cent, under rules set by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles." - Daily Mail

> Today:

Matthew Hancock says that the minimum wage should be strengthened

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"Hancock, the skills minister and a former aide to George Osborne, said his party needed to be seen to be tackling the causes not just of excessively high pay, but also unjustified low pay. Speaking at a Resolution Foundation meeting in London, he said: "Not only are the centre right best placed to tackle low pay, but we need to shout it from the rooftops." He said it was an essential supply-side reform since it helped people currently on benefit into work by giving them an incentive to work." - The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - What is causing the stagnation of wages? Matthew Hancock MP sets out a Tory agenda for the low-paid.

Karl McCartney accuses IPSA of trying to ‘screw’ him

"MPs have been forced to borrow money from their parents because the Commons expenses watchdog is trying to “screw them into the ground”, a Tory backbencher claimed yesterday. Karl McCartney, 42, MP for Lincoln, said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) was “incompetent” and accused it of trying to bully him into silence. He said he was “not proud” to admit that he had been forced to ask his parents for a loan when the regulator took five months to pay £25,000 in expenses claims."  - The Times (£)

David Miliband: A nation mourns

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"The former Foreign Secretary was showered with praise from friends, including Bill Clinton, and foes alike. “It’s a career change for me,” David insisted in a series of broadcast interviews.  “I’ve not even left yet…I haven’t started my new job so the idea I would start thinking now about the job after this one would be wrong.”…His “sadness” at leaving Britain extended to the Blairites. Some believe David could be Prime Minister today if he had joined one of several botched coups against Gordon Brown in 2009 and 2010 while he was Prime Minister." - The Independent


  • "As for the constituents he promised to serve for a full term – or his country, which he is saddling with the distraction and expense of a by-election – they don’t seem to have crossed his mind." - Daily Mail Editorial
  • David Miliband’s departure marks the end of the brief period in which acolytes of Tony Blair were in the ascendancy - Times Editorial (£)
  • "So David Miliband is bowing out of British politics. It’s a heavy blow but we’ll have to bear it as best we can." - Sun Editorial

> Yesterday: LeftWatch - David Miliband's flight from the Commons is a sign of the times

Peter Oborne (Never Knowingly Understated): David Miliband is "a greedy failure in a cosmic sulk"

Oborne Peter 2"During his short, undistinguished career, Mr Miliband has done grave damage to British politics. He is part of the new governing elite which is sucking the heart out of our representative democracy while enriching itself in the process. He may be mourned in the BBC and in north London, but the rest of us are entitled to form a more realistic view. David Miliband has belittled our politics and he will not be missed." - Daily Telegraph

Other comment:

  • "Forget the fancy theories about divisions and distractions. The simple truth is that David never got over Ed’s victory." - Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • David Miliband's values still matter - Martin Kettle, The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Mandelson says Ed Miliband would be "clinically insane" to hold EU referendum - Financial Times (£)
  • Labour has accepted more than half a million pounds from Price Waterhouse - The Times (£)

Frank Field says: ‘Brick up your doors, knock down the walls’ over the spare room subsidy/bedroom tax

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.05.55"He said: “I feel so strongly about what the Government are doing to my constituents and similarly placed constituents around the country that I call on both social housing and housing association landlords to defy the measures, not by not operating them, but by doing what landlords did after the Nine Years’ War, when a Government similarly stretched for money imposed a window tax. “In many instances – we see it in older properties in our constituencies – landlords bricked up windows." - The Independent

Commons committee warns on devolution

"The political and constitutional reform select committee said a constitutional convention was also needed to develop a comprehensive, UK-wide strategy on devolution after the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. Until now, devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was being carried out piecemeal and without any overarching vision about the future of the UK: that risked leaving the union fragmented and disorganised." - The Guardian

Full-time mothers penalised by Government, says Bishop of Exeter

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.08.54"The Rt Rev Michael Langrish, who sits in the House of Lords, said that his views represented those of a number of bishops who are concerned by the Government’s apparent lack of support for family life. Over the past few months, ministers have removed child benefit from wealthier families with one breadwinner and restricted financial help with child care to those mothers returning to work, yet repeatedly delayed a promise to bring in tax breaks for married couples." - Daily Telegraph

  • New survey of the nation's behaviour paints a positive picture of life in modern Britain - Daily Mail

Boris to the rescue of scooter driver hit by car - The Sun

Darius Guppy to the rescue of Boris hit by Eddie Mair - The Times (£)

Guppy's piece in this week's Spectator

Samantha Cameron speaks of her horror during visit to Syrian refugee camp

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"Mrs Cameron said:  ‘As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today. No child should ever experience what they have.  ‘With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces.’ Mrs Cameron, who has been an ambassador for Save the Children since 2011, visited a camp in the Bekaa Valley on Tuesday and spoke to women and children caught up in the violence." - Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.39.56Whips played Skyfall to entice peers to stay for crucial "secret courts" vote - Daily Mail
  • Liam Fox off to Bahrain summit - The Independent
  • GPs to get £30 DNA test for cancer within five years - The Times (£)
  • Watchdog talks tough on bank capital - Financial Times (£)
  • Doncaster Council loses right to care for children in wake of foster torture scandal - Daily Mail
  • North Korea accused of faking invasion images - The Sun
  • America's Defense of Marriage Act faces uncertain future as court questions law's validity - The Guardian
  • Argentina demands U.N "wear down" Britain over the Falklands - Daily Express
  • Two jailed over leaks to the Sun - The Guardian
  • Scottish teachers back strike by 9/1 margin - Scotsman
  • Leeds and Sheffield Councils may abandon LGA - Yorkshire Post
  • Rolling Stones to headline Glastonbury 2013 - Daily Telegraph
  • Carwyn Jones' constitutional convention call backed in key report - Wales Online
  • First woman to head the U.S secret service - The Times (£)
  • Queen invites Duchess of Cornwall to attend State Opening of Parliament for the first time - Daily Express
  • Latest broadside against Nick Boles - Daily Telegraph
  • Record number of freezing Britons to flee abroad over Easter to escape Arctic weather - Daily Express

And finally...Miliband's departure. BBC presenters mourn. Latest dramatic picture

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