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Newslinks for Monday 20th May 2013

6.45pm WATCH: "It's not about wrecking the Bill" – Tim Loughton defends his amendment to the gay marriage bill

4.15pm Oliver Cooper on Comment: Backing same-sex marriage won’t decide the next election – but it will decide elections decades from now

ME3pm On Comment, Matthew Elliott writes that, for jobs and growth, Britain's relationship with the EU must change"Britain’s relationship with the EU is broken. This doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, but that fixing will be difficult and it is crucial that groups representing Britain’s businesses are honest about what that change will entail – namely treaty change and fundamental reform."

2.30pm Local Government:

12.30pm Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: Labour is responsible for tax avoidance culture

10.15am Local Government: Stephen Greenhalgh on Putting bobbies before buildings

9.45am ToryDiary: A precondition for victory is unity – but unity requires boldness and generosity from Cameron

UKIPOn ToryDiary, we begin our series on Getting to Know U-KIP: Who are UKIP?

Also on ToryDiary: The Cabinet Office is the seat of this Government’s radicalism – but it’s stuck in several ruts

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Enough! Time to behave like the governing Party we all want to be

Marina Kim on Comment: If MPs are to be paid more, voters need a right of recall

Local Government: Pickles attacks Labour's housing record in Wales

The Deep End: Robert Halfon and Jesse Norman are the future of the Conservative Party

Loons vs Roons 1) Lord Feldman under continuing pressure...

Cameron

"The peer, one of David Cameron’s closest friends in politics, has angrily denied making the comments and hinted that he may sue over newspaper reports. ... But some senior Tories last night cast doubt on his denials, and he is expected to face close interrogation over the affair when the Conservative Party board holds its monthly meeting in London this afternoon. ... Tory MP Brian Binley, a member of the party board, said: ‘I simply do not believe that senior journalists would make up such a remark.'" - Daily Mail

"The Bow Group think-tank said Tories risked doom over gay marriage, the EU and claims that a Cameron aide called party activists 'loons'." - The Sun

  • Tim bale"The first thing to point out is that the Tory grassroots are rather more variegated than the stereotypes suggest." - Tim Bale, Daily Telegraph
  • "That quote is indicative of more than a split between the core of a political party and its fringes. Rather, it highlights an attitude at the heart of government that is neither pleasant nor wise." - Times editorial (£)
  • "Cameron had the chance to defy the 'swivel-eyed loons' and remake his party. He failed." - Steve Richards, Guardian

> Today, by Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Enough! Time to behave like the governing Party we all want to be

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Lord Feldman should ring each Conservative Association Chairman to thank local activists for their work

Loons vs Roons 2) ...as both the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail warn the Tories against excessive bickering

  • "...the danger is that, by looking in on itself, the Tory party will fail to notice that the wider narrative might just be starting to go its way, and that it had better summon the energy – and unity – to make the most of it." - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "...the most frustrating thing is that the Tories have an increasingly good narrative to tell, if they could stop bickering long enough to tell it." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Not only is the Conservative Party splitting itself in two – it is leaving the electorate far behind." - Independent editorial

Loons vs Roons 3) How the swivel-eyed story (allegedly) came about

Blue boar"Some time around 10pm, the bespectacled figure of Lord Feldman was spotted passing the table of reporters at the Blue Boar. He was apparently on his way to the washroom. What happened next is now the talk of Westminster. ... One of the reporters couldn’t resist engaging Lord Feldman in conversation with a throwaway comment. ... ‘Oh, that went well then, didn’t it?’ – a sarcastic reference to events a couple of hours earlier when 114 Tory MPs had voted against the Queen’s Speech in protest over the EU referendum." - Daily Mail

  • "Cameron's chums DO despise the grass roots" - Melissa Kite, Daily Mail

Loons vs Roons 4) David Cameron now expects UKIP to win next year's European elections, according to reports

Farage"David Cameron expects the UK Independence Party to win next year’s European Parliament elections despite his pledge to hold an in/out referendum on Europe. ... A senior Conservative source said it was now taken as a ‘reasonable assumption’ in Downing Street that UKIP would top the poll next May – sparking a fresh round of Tory bloodletting on Europe just 12 months before the General Election." - Daily Mail

Richard Branson and Martin Sorrell among signatories to a letter to The Independent that takes aim at Eurosceptics - Independent

  • "David Cameron must rapidly choose which side to be on. Right now, he looks like a man swept along by forces beyond his control." - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

> Yesterday's videos to WATCH:

Loons vs Roons 5) ...as Nigel Farage makes a big pitch for Tory votes

UKIP"Mr Farage uses an advertisement in Monday's Telegraph to urge Conservative voters to back Ukip. The “loons” description, he says, is “'the ultimate insult' from a party leadership that has betrayed the trust of its own supporters. ... He writes in the advertisement: 'Only an administration run by a bunch of college kids, none of whom have ever had a proper job in their lives, could so arrogantly write off their own supporters.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Today on ToryDiary: Who are UKIP?

Loons vs Roons 6) They called me a swivel-eyed loon (for wanting a new bus for London), says Boris

"I remember what the doubters said when we first announced a new bus for London – a replacement for the beloved Routemaster. They said I was mad. The Labour Party said I was deranged. My opponents said I was a swivel-eyed loon, or words to that effect. ... So it gives me unbridled joy to inform you that the new bus will shortly arrive en masse." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

And there's more bad news for Mr Cameron: he faces defeat in gay marriage vote

Meltdown"David Cameron is facing a Commons defeat tonight on gay marriage that could cost the Exchequer £4billion. ... At least 100 Tory MPs are expected to join forces with Labour and the Lib Dems to back an amendment allowing heterosexual couples to have civil partnerships too. ... Sources say the Prime Minister is ‘very concerned’ about losing the vote, which he believes would undermine the institution of marriage." - Daily Mail

"At least two cabinet ministers – the environment secretary Owen Paterson and the Wales secretary David Jones – are prepared to vote for a series of amendments that would grant exemptions to teachers and registrars. ... Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, and John Hayes, the prime minister's unofficial envoy to the Tory right, may also side with opponents of the bill during a series of votes..." - Guardian

  • "My brother Charles, who was gay, died from Aids in 1993. Society was a far less accepting place for gay men such as him. I think how much better his life would have been had there been greater acceptance of publicly acknowledged stable same-sex relationships." - Francis Maude, Daily Telegraph
  • "The churches do not own marriage. We do." - Libby Purves, The Times (£)

> Yesteday, by Councillor Miles Windsor and Ben Harris-Quinney on Comment: The same-sex marriage bill is a symptom of a wider malaise at the top of the Party

Tim Montgomerie: Here's the speech Cameron should give now

Tim M"If I were in David Cameron's shows, I'd offer contrition on Europe, a big peace offering to party members and then, from those two launchpads, a big outreach to the voters who still see the Tories as the party of the rich. If I were his speechwriter, this is what I would suggest..." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • David Cameron writes to Britain's tax havens, calling for transparency - Guardian

There's bad news for George Osborne, too: Mervyn King has questioned his house-buying plan

"Sir Mervyn King has sounded the alarm over the Chancellor’s home-buying plan, suggesting it could trigger a US-style economic crash. ... The outgoing Bank of England governor said George Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme was ‘too close for comfort’ and could damage the mortgage market if allowed to continue for too long." - Daily Mail

House prices reach record highs in London, the South East and Anglia - Daily Mail

  • "Hats off to Mervyn King. By voicing his doubts about the government's £130bn gamble on the housing market, the outgoing Bank of England governor has restarted a vital debate." - Guardian editorial
  • "As the Chancellor’s spending continues to spiral, he has no hope of balancing the books" - Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph

Michael Gove attacks "defeatist" head teachers

Gove"Michael Gove has launched a fierce attack on primary school leaders, labelling them 'defeatists' who are resisting higher standards. ... Writing in The Times today, the Education Secretary singles out the president of Britain’s biggest head teachers’ union, accusing her of opposing higher expectations for children." - The Times (£)

  • "Apologise for expecting the best? No chance" - Michael Gove, The Times (£)
  • "The more abuse Mr Gove gets from the teachers, the more you know he's right" - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

Peter Mandelson urges Ed Milband to actually set out some policies

"Labour leader Ed Miliband needs to 'put the contents in the tin' and spell out some policies, party veteran Lord Mandelson said yesterday. ... He praised Mr Miliband’s “One Nation” mantra but warned it was not enough." - The Sun

MPs could pocket a £10,000 pay-rise

Money"MPs are set for a huge £10,000 pay rise — while hard-up families suffer pay freezes and layoffs. ... Their taxpayer-funded salaries will rocket from £65,738 to more than £75,000 under plans drawn up by the Commons expenses watchdog." - The Sun

> Today, by Marina Kim on Comment: If MPs are to be paid more, voters need a right of recall

News in brief

  • Nine in ten parents want online porn automatically blocked by the Government - Daily Mail
  • Fifty hospital beds have been axed every week since the last election - Daily Mail
  • "As many as 6.8million people and 1.8million children have been trapped into long-term poverty, the Centre for Social Justice says in a report." - Daily Mail
  • "Foreigners living in London are set to outnumber Brits within 20 years, new research signalled yesterday." - The Sun
  • Police expect New IRA plot during G8 summit - The Times (£)
  • "Tony Blair has agreed to advise the next government of Albania in a deal which could be worth millions of pounds." - Daily Mail
  • Legal watchdog warns budget cuts will damage justice - Guardian

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