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Newslinks for Thursday 20th June 2013

6.45pm Local Government: Councils "face further 10% cut in central government grant"

5.15pm WATCH: Owen Paterson: GM food "is not a strange, new, spooky innovation"

4.30pm Philip Booth on Comment: Tax havens are good - let's make Britain one

Dmorris3pm Morecambe's MP, David Morris, on Comment: "Andy Burnham derided the appointment of a powerful Chief Inspector with the authority and judgement to call out problems as "heavy-handed regulation".    He calls it "heavy-handed"; I call it "speaking truth to power", and my constituents rue the day he stamped this out at a time when babies were dying at Morecambe Bay." Labour bears a share of the responsibility for the deaths at our local hospital

2.30pm ToryDiary: The Work Programme is working

12.30pm WATCH: Andrew Mitchell: "Whipping like stripping is best done in private"

11.30am Shailesh Vara MP on Comment: How can we justify helping the Libyans but not the Syrians?

11am ToryDiary: "...a brave speech, seeking to lead rather than follow public opinion. This is a man on a mission." Key points from Owen Paterson's speech making the case for GM food

10am Local Government: John Bald says The education debate is going Gove's way

OsborneToryDiary: At last, the prospect of getting some taxpayers' money back for our bank stake

Also on ToryDiary: The optimistic conservatism of Paterson's support for GM foods

Dr Martin Parsons on Comment: Obama's folly - why the west cannot negotiate with the Taliban

Kate Maltby writes this week's Culture Column: Let’s not become like the Tudors under Walsingham - mad with paranoia about spies and espionage

In the fourth part of our Future Majority series on MajorityConservatism, Elizabeth Oldfield argues that religion in Britain isn't dead, but alive in new ways - and a challenge to political parties: Elizabeth Oldfield says: Religion in Britain. Not dead - but alive in new ways. And a challenge to the political parties.

Local Government: Martin Drake, James Hart and Nicholas Allen from Doncaster on Why the ‘Anyone but Labour’ attitude must not creep into the Conservative Party

The Deep End: How about this: A thriving company that cuts costs for consumers without squeezing its workers

GuardianosborneOsborne prepares for bank sale...

"George Osborne has signalled he is ready to start the sell-off of the taxpayer's stake in Lloyds Banking Group, but said he is to consider whether to break up the Royal Bank of Scotland, in a move that could delay the bailed-out bank's return to the private sector. In his annual speech to City grandees at Mansion House on Wednesday night, the chancellor said he was "actively considering options for share sales in Lloyds", in which the government has a 39% stake. Speculation is mounting that a partial sell-off of the state's Lloyds stake could take place within months." - The Guardian

...but will he tell Sid?

"The first tranche of shares in Lloyds are likely to be offered to institutional investors, followed by a possible sale to the general public. It could be modelled on the popular “tell Sid” sale of British Gas shares in the 1980s." - The Independent

  • "Osborne is about to make another mistake with Lloyds: he wants to sell the first tranche of shares to institutions, rather than involve the public in the sort of mass distribution that is desperately needed to rebuild a shareholder democracy." Allister Heath City AM

The economy is out of "intensive care"

"The British economy is “out of intensive care” and moving towards a recovery from the financial crisis, George Osborne has declared....Mr Osborne’s statement reflects growing optimism among ministers that
the UK economy is finally over the worst of an economic crisis that began in 2008 and has painfully squeezed millions of households’ budgets. Delivering his annual Mansion House speech in the City, Mr Osborne highlighted recent economic figures showing that employment levels are robust, modest economic growth has resumed and companies are more optimistic about the future." - Daily Telegraph

Yesterday:

TelegraphNHSNHS cover up continues...

"The NHS watchdog was tonight accused of a “broader and ongoing cover-up” after refusing to name officials who ordered the destruction of evidence of its failure to prevent a maternity deaths scandal. One MP demanded a police investigation into the actions of senior managers at the Care Quality Commission. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, demanded that those responsible for the apparent cover-up ultimately be publicly identified, despite defending the CQC’s decision not to name the individuals immediately." - Daily Telegraph

  • "In a move that prompted fury, the names of those responsible for the cover-up at the health regulator were redacted from a damning report published yesterday. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the secrecy and demanded the names be published – insisting there should be ‘no anonymity and no hiding place’ for the officials involved." - Daily Mail

Timesnhs...amidst demands for prosecutions

"NHS watchdogs who covered up their failure to investigate baby deaths should face criminal charges, a former Director of Public Prosecutions said yesterday. Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, QC, suggested that misconduct in a public office had been committed by officials at the Care Quality Commission. MPs demanded that its former bosses be “hauled before Parliament” to explain their roles in the scandal engulfing the regulator." - The Times (£)

  • "Imagine that this had been a private sector company covering up what it knew about sub-standard care and poor practices that led to the deaths of several mothers and children; or a bank that had lost billions of pounds. There would have been a clamour for arrests and prosecutions...Yet in the public sector, we are expected to be content with an apology from the new chief executive, a promise to learn lessons and a structural overhaul that may, or may not, improve matters." Leader Daily Telegraph

OwenpPaterson to try and persuade public of the benefits of GM food

"The government has a duty to explain the benefits of genetically modified crops to the British people, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is to say. In a speech today, he will argue that GM has significant benefits for farmers, consumers and the environment. The UK and Europe risk being left behind unless the technology is embraced, he will say." - BBC

Ian Livingstone to be new Trade Minister

"BT chief executive Ian Livingston is to step down in September to become a UK government trade minister. David Cameron announced the move at Prime Minister's Questions, saying Mr Livingston would succeed Lord Green - the former HSBC chairman - who will stand down at the end of the year." - BBC

Nigel Evans refutes charges

"Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans has said he "refutes all allegations" after being arrested on suspicion of three counts of indecent assault. The 55-year-old answered bail following his arrest in May on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, and was told that he faced the additional allegations." - BBC

James_whartonEU referendum bill toughened

"The Bill has been toughened since a draft version was published. It now makes clear that ministers have to announce the date of the referendum before the end of 2016. Failing to do so would open them up to a legal challenge." - The Times (£)

  • "Conservative MP James Wharton presented his European Union (Referendum) Bill in the Commons to loud Tory cheers. If the Bill becomes law it will be a major milestone for the Daily Express crusade to free Britain from the EU. Having received its formal First Reading without debate, all eyes are now on July 5, when the Bill returns to the Commons for a crucial Second Reading." - Daily Express
  • "Mr Wharton’s measure deserves to be backed by all democrats, whether they favour breaking free from the suffocating embrace of Brussels or remaining trapped within it. It is therefore unimpressive and frankly bizarre that Labour leader Ed Miliband is withholding his support from the measure, instructing his MPs to abstain when it is first voted on in the Commons. Miliband intends to use parliamentary procedures to kill-off Mr Wharton’s legislation without openly opposing it. This is a deeply dishonest approach. Labour was once known as “the people’s party” yet has become the party that will not trust the people." Leader Daily Express

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: An invitation from Grant Shapps to sponsor James Wharton's EU referendum bill

Grassroots Tories "trust Cameron on the EU"

"Grassroots Tories may be Eurosceptics, but they trust David Cameron's strategy on the European Union. A majority of them say that if, following any renegotiation, he were to recommend they vote to keep Britain in the EU, they would do just that. Right now, according to a new academic survey of ordinary Conservative Party members, 71 per cent would vote to leave the EU. But if Mr Cameron can cut a deal which – in his view – protects our national interests, more than half of them (54 per cent) would vote to stay in."- Daily Telegraph

Cameron says Commons vote on Syria might cause too much delay

"More than 80 Conservative MPs have signed a letter calling for a full Commons vote before any decision to take action against the Assad government. Asked about this demand, Mr Cameron said: "You are absolutely right to make the point that we make a big commitment to come to this House and explain, vote and all the rest of it, but obviously governments have to reserve the ability to take action very swiftly on this or on other issues." - BBC

Work Programme delivers better results

"Fewer than one in five sickness benefit claimants who joined the government’s flagship welfare-to-work programme has found a job, according to figures released by the industry’s trade body on Thursday.
However, the figures also show that around a third of people who have been on the programme for at least a year have started work, suggesting that, after a difficult start, the scheme may be starting to deliver results." - Financial Times

Michael_wilshaw_281111"Super Sirs" to rescue failing schools

"Crack teams of top teachers should be sent to underperforming schools, the country’s top watchdog will say today. Thousands of “unseen children” are let down in rural areas and seaside towns, warns Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw. In a landmark speech he will call for an army of “experienced and effective teachers to work in less fashionable, more remote or challenging places”." - The Sun

Peter Oborne says Boris should be made Tory Chairman

"It is hard to think of any modern Conservative better suited for the job than Mr Johnson. Popular with the public, loved by the party, he has reinvented the rules of political discourse since becoming Mayor of London. So far he has been kept at arm’s length by the Tory leadership, who feel envious and threatened by the Mayor’s charm and ease. The most intelligent reaction is to tie Mr Johnson in – by making his fortunes dependent on those of Mr Cameron." - Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Columnist Stephan Shakespeare on new polling about the Prime Minister and London's Mayor: "When we look at the words the Johnson-likers use to describe themselves, we find ‘individualistic, knowledgeable, disorganised’, versus Cameron-likers seeing themselves as ‘friendly, organised and hardworking’. Stephen Fry & Eddie Izzard v the England Rugby Team - yes, it's Boris v Cameron

Quentin Letts says Ed Miliband failed again at PMQs

"Edward Miliband could do with winning Prime Minister’s Questions. It has not happened for  a while – in part because David Cameron went solong during May without doing  a PMQs. Some Labour voices suggested during that absence that Mr Cameron was hiding. Given Ed Mil’s iffy form at the  despatch box, they should be glad the PM did not subject their man to more outings. Ed is scoring so few runs at present, he could be batting for Essex." - Quentin Letts Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: "Prime Minister's questions is a perpetual assault by Mr Cameron on the Labour Party, of a kind which a gifted desk officer in the Conservative Research Department of the late 1980s might make. It is a professional performance, but also a rather mean-spirited and constricted one." - PMQs: David Cameron and Lynton Crosby set out to destroy the Labour Party

The New Statesman claims some Tory backbenchers want to lose General Election

"It is, for the time being, confined to a kernel of 30 or 40 backbenchers. They have drunk themselves morose on a cocktail of resentments – call it ambition on the rocks – that is one part irritation with David Cameron’s snooty manner and one part injured pride at missed promotions, stirred together with a fizzy mixer of ideological betrayal. The irreconcilables would take pleasure in seeing the Prime Minister’s smooth features crumpled by election-night disappointment." - Rafael Behr New Statesman

David Aaronovitch says Labour are letting down the Syrian people

"Mr Cameron, who I think can see, like me, where this Syrian disaster is heading, looks over at the Opposition bench and finds no cover. Just 11 months ago Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, one of the best and brightest in Labour’s firmament, warned the Russians that if they continued to arm Assad and thwart international sanctions they’d “bear the stain”. But now he says we should “not take actions that compromise the commitment of the Russians to take part” in the Geneva II peace talks." David Aaronovitch The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Work longer hours, Gove tells teachers - Metro
  • Peerage for Sir Mervyn King - BBC 
  • Poor children in rural areas let down says Sir Michael Wilshaw - BBC
  • Britain in dangerous moral state says Welby - The Times (£)
  • Farage says UKIP will win a Scottish MEP - Guardian
  • Bankers bonuses at new record - The Independent
  • Boris has a new bus - The Guardian
  • Labour's YouGov lead down to 6% - YouGov

And finally...Obama called Osborne "Jeff"

"Music fan Barack Obama kept getting George Osborne’s name wrong aftermixing him up with one of his favourite soul stars — Jeffrey Osborne." - The Sun 

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