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Newslinks for Tuesday 14th May 2013

6.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's Referendum Bill pledge had some success - but why didn't it happen last week?

4.15pm WATCH: Professor Philip Cowley analyses the coalition's record of rebellions

2.45pm Local Government: Labour's secret immigration report published

1.30pm LeftWatch: Europe, public spending, union power grabs...Labour have plenty of splits of their own

10am Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart on Comment come hotfoot with their latest calculations: This Parliament remains on course to be the most rebellious since 1945.

Cameron_as_MajorNEWToryDiary: A failure of leadership that leaves Cameron as a latter-day John Major

Two China-based pieces:

On Comment, David Rutley MP urges business to rediscover our trading heritage

Local Government: Cllr John Moss wants developers to deal with the public, not council cliques

Obama agrees with Cameron's EU strategy...

"The Prime Minister has promised to hold an in-out referendum in 2017 if he is still in Downing Street but says that voters would have to be offered a renegotiated European settlement. Today, after receiving Mr Cameron at the White House, Mr Obama said that aproach “makes sense”. At a joint news conference, Mr Obama stressed that the decision on the UK’s future was a matter for the British people. But he added: “David’s basic point that you probably want to see if you can fix what is broken in a very important relationship before you break it off makes some sense to me. I know that David’s been very active in seeking some reforms internal to the EU. Those are tough negotiations, you’ve got a lot of countries involved, I recognise that." - The Times (£)

  • Is Obama's support any use? Asks James Kirkup for the Daily Telegraph 
  • Negotiation will work, argues Rodney Leach in The Times (£) 

...but now David Cameron agrees with his backbenchers on the referendum bill

"David Cameron and William Hague will respond to intense pressure from mutinous Tory Eurosceptics today by unveiling an EU referendum Bill. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will back draft legislation which, if passed in the Commons, would formally confirm Mr Cameron’s pledge to hold an ‘in/out’ vote on Britain’s membership of the EU by 2017. The extraordinary move emerged as around 60 Tory rebels prepare to attack the Queen’s Speech for its lack of a referendum Bill in an amendment tomorrow that has turned into a public relations disaster for the Prime Minister." - Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - Cameron agrees to referendum for an In/Out referendum

  • "Downing Street is mystified by the collapse of the January truce, and commentators also scribble their surprise. But it is not surprising at all. It was predictable, and predicted. We are now a quarter of a century into the Tories’ rancorous fixation with Europe, a single-issue neuralgia that knows no equivalent in any major party in the west, and the pattern is familiar: no concession satisfies those who ultimately want to leave the EU, even if they say it will before receiving it. Mr Cameron, remember, has withdrawn his party from the centre-right caucus in the European Parliament, vetoed a fiscal treaty and cleared a path to exit. On each occasion, Tories have summoned a practised glee before returning to their core view of him as the craven running dog of a europhile establishment." - Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times (£) 
  • "A bold act of political cunning" - The Sun Says
  • The Daily Mail's Leader blames Cameron for an unnecessary crisis 
  • The Tory party has gone crazy, and it's Cameron's fault - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • "Banging on about Europe" never really went away - Financial Times (£) 
  • It's victory for the backbenches, declares The Times (£) 
  • Rebels believe they have wrested control from No 10 - The Independent
  • John Baron is the new Prime Minister - Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • A whiff of Tory mutiny - Daily Express Leader
  • Both main parties are riven by old divides, says Rachel Sylvester - The Times (£) 
  • Being tough on Europe means being soft on crime, claims Yvette Cooper - Daily Express
  • Gordon Brown attacks Conservative "Powellite" immigration policy - The Herald

>Today: ToryDiary - A failure of leadership that leaves Cameron as a latter-day John Major

...while UKIP circle, seeking defections

"Will Gilpin, who was recently appointed as the party’s first chief executive, said that in the past 18 months officials had had conversations with ten Conservative MPs about the possibility of defecting. “They’re serious discussions but won’t necessarily lead to anything because it has to be the individual decision of the MP concerned at the point they make a leap,” he said. “People have to weigh up the effect on their friends and their loyalties and so on — it’s more than simply politics.” He pointed to MPs “who may decide their majority is so slim that they are convinced that they will lose their seat because of UKIP and the unpopularity of the Government”." - The Times (£)

  • UKIP poll surge continues - Guardian/ICM 
  • Is this a permanent realignment or a blip? asks John Harris in The Guardian

Raab...and Dominic Raab reminds us that not all our problems come from Brussels

"The scale of these problems puts the debate over the EU into perspective. If we left, the ability to cut red tape and forge free trade deals would present enormous opportunities. Yet the unions, the BBC and the Labour Party – as well as many Liberal Democrats – would still scream blue murder over every attempt to ease the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs. Similarly, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has lost much of its expertise in trade – and turning the opportunity to open our markets to those of the emerging nations into solid economic gains would not happen by accident. Instead, it would require a paradigm shift in diplomatic focus. Brussels is a worthy lightning rod for criticism, but it must not be used to excuse fundamental British shortcomings. Whether we are in or out of the EU, we must deliver reform at home in order to compete abroad in the 21st century." - Dominic Raab MP, Daily Telegraph 

GrowthIs the Chancellor abandoning economic rebalancing?

"His Budget of two months ago represents an abject piece of economic policymaking reminiscent of the worst of Gordon Brown’s ten years in the Treasury. Under the “Help to Buy” programme Mr Osborne is committing us, the taxpayer, to underwriting risky, high loan-to-value mortgages at a time when property prices in many parts of the country remain overinflated. Already the Bank is propping households up with the lowest official rate of interest in its history. Now the Treasury is going further by nationalising some of the risk on overpriced homes in the hope of injecting froth into the very sector that was central to our downfall in 2008. Mr Osborne’s motivation is obvious. Figures in an IMF report last week showed that the correlation between British housing prices and consumer spending was the closest of any country among 13 surveyed, including the US and Ireland. Like his predecessor Nigel Lawson in the 1980s, Mr Osborne is counting on a more effervescent property market to lift both household spending and the Tories’ electoral prospects in 2015." - Sam Fleming, The Times' Economics Editor (£)

>Yesterday: The Deep End - The main problem with our banks is that they don't have enough money (of their own)

Eric PicklesGive shoppers free parking, says Pickles, the motorist's friend 

"He said parking charges had become ‘ridiculously high’ and drivers were being used as ‘cash cows’ by local councils. Mr Pickles said: ‘We are looking at more ways to curb ridiculously high parking charges and over-zealous traffic wardens who pounce on those simply popping into their local shop for a pint of milk or to buy a paper. This overly aggressive stance towards the motorist is not good for the high street. Councils should be supporting their local high streets and wider economy, not using drivers as cash cows." - Daily Mail 

  • Motorway signs to help drivers to avoid high petrol prices - Financial Times (£) 
  • James Bond takes on the planning NIMBYs - Daily Express 

Government moves to address impact of an elderly population on the NHS

"Ministers will today unveil plans to improve co-ordination between NHS services and councils to make it easier for the elderly to leave hospital. Mr Lamb said the ageing population and the strain on the NHS was ‘the challenge of the 21st century. 'A&E units are under pressure, ambulances are carrying more patients than they should, significant numbers of people are in hospital who should be cared for elsewhere. The system is becoming dysfunctional and we need to do something about it.’" - Daily Mail

  • GPs earning £1,350 a time to cover out of hours shifts - Daily Mail
  • NHS patient died after hours without water - Daily Mail
British forces to stay in Helmand for an extra five months

"The number of troops expected to be deployed into 2015 is expected to be in the hundreds. Soldiers will be compensated financially. “This decision is based on clear military advice to provide continuity in key posts as we transition to Afghan control and manage troop deployments during key events such as the Afghan presidential elections in the spring,” an MoD source said. The normal six-month changeover of British forces in Helmand in April would have coincided with the Afghan presidential elections, which the Taleban are expected to try to discredit." - The Times (£)

GoveFlagAcademics attack Michael Gove - for a change

"In a letter to The Times, 54 historians criticise him for “manipulating and distorting” evidence in a speech in which he mocked a child-like approach to the subject. Last week Mr Gove ridiculed a lesson plan in which GCSE students used Mr Men characters to describe the rise of Hitler. He also mocked a history teachers’ organisation for encouraging the use of a Disney film to teach children about King John. The academics say that this latter claim misrepresented an article in the Historical Association’s journal for primary schools." - The Times (£)

  • 11-year-olds sit a new spelling and grammar test today - The Guardian

>Yesterday: Local Government - John Bald on Reforming Education - more steps on a long, hard road

MP's research suggests Leveson scandal lawyer may have written parts of report

"MP Rob Wilson wrote to the judge last night casting doubt on assurances that Inquiry lawyer Carine Patry Hoskins had no input into his findings. Mr Wilson published an analysis showing that the section of the Leveson Report, containing criticisms of ‘culture, practices and ethics of the Press’ is substantially similar to warning letters understood to have been drafted by Miss Patry Hoskins and another Inquiry official and sent to interested parties." - Daily Mail 

News in brief

  • "I almost killed Boris Johnson with an air rifle" - Daily Telegraph 
  • Mandelson: We sent out search parties to encourage immigration - Daily Mail
  • Labour is ever more reliant on union funding - Times Leader (£) 
  • Chris Huhne looks well-fed leaving prison - Daily Mail
  • Nigel Evans to stand aside during investigation - Daily Telegraph 
  • Islamic extremism is prospering at British universities - David Aaronovitch in the Times (£) 
  • Shareholders hammer British Gas salaries - Daily Mail
  • Labour voters' views on welfare harden - The Guardian 
  • Lord Ahmed resigns from Labour after anti-semitic comments - The Times (£)

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