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Newslinks for Wednesday 12th June 2013

4.45pm Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: The Local Authorities that fail our children should be replaced by Learning Trusts

4.15pm PMQs: WATCH - PMQs: Cameron V Balls…sorry, Miliband

2.30pm ToryDiary - "One cannot say Mr Cameron's attacks are illegitimate: Mr Balls has heckled him so relentlessly from a sedentary position that he deserves everything he gets. And now that Labour is changing direction on the economy, the temptation to mock the inconsistencies in his evolving position is irresistible." Andrew Gimson's Commons sketch: Cameron wages an unEdifying war of attrition against Balls

12.45pm ToryDiary: The Commons moves closer to a ban on conflicting interests for Select Committee Chairmen

Screen shot 2013-06-12 at 12.50.37Noon ToryDiary: CCHQ launches new EU referendum campaign - Let Britain Decide

10am Local Government: What tonight's Panorama won't tell you about the Bagley's Lane Box Junction

ToryDiary: First, fewer Special Advisers. Now, a record number. But where's much of the growth? Step forward, Nick Clegg...

Columnist Greg Clark MP's Letter from a Treasury Minister: Why shouldn't cities bid for Work Programme contracts?

Henry Hill's Red White and Blue Column: A new party for Northern Ireland; a new approach for Better Together

Robin Ould on Afghanistan: How the MOD's strategy in Afghanistan helped the Taliban - not our troops

Screen shot 2013-06-12 at 07.37.18Philip Blond and Adam Wildman on ThinkTankCentral - Why Risk Waivers for SMEs would help to fire economic growth

Top football latest on MPsETC: Sponsor agony as BlueBirds have wings clipped

Free Schools Week continues on Local Government: Say "hola" to the Bilingual free school in Brighton

The Deep End: Family values will die without economic opportunities for the young

Would arming the Syrian opposition mean proxy war with Putin's Russia?

"Defence chiefs have warned the PM about a new Cold War with Russia after revealing the Kremlin has sent “tens of thousands” of troops to Syria. Moscow has been secretly building up military advisers and technical experts in the war-torn country, intelligence officials have learned. Many are manning tyrannical leader Bashar Assad’s Russian-made air defence systems. Their presence means David Cameron’s plan to arm Syrian rebels would lead to a direct confrontation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin." - The Sun 

The Guardian: Cameron plans 30 EU opt-ins

Cam fence smaller head"The prime minister, who said earlier this week that membership of the EU gives the UK a seat at the world's "top table", is expected to opt in to 30-40 of the measures following warnings of a threat to security if Britain fails to sign up. The decision by the Cameron, which has still to be finalised in negotiations between Danny Alexander and Oliver Letwin, will disappoint Eurosceptics who had hoped Britain would stand apart from most of the 130 measures." - The Guardian

The Independent: May plans 130 EU opt-outs

"Theresa May will be accused of trying to placate her party’s “rabid” Eurosceptic backbenchers at the expense of fighting cross-border crime. Labour are to use a debate in Parliament in an attempt to split the Coalition over Ms May’s desire to opt out of up to 130 European crime-fighting measures. Under pressure from her own backbenchers, Ms May is keen to pull out of EU laws, including the European Arrest Warrant, which has been in operation in Britain for eight years." - The Independent

  • Hogan-Howe has made a mess of the Mitchell affair, but the Home Secretary won't want t lose him - Daily Mail
  • One in five rapists let off with a caution - Daily Mail

Michael Gove dominates political coverage by unveiling new GCSEs in bid to end grade inflation…

GoveinClassroom
“Teenagers will be made to study world history, extended topics in science, read whole books by authors such as Austen, Dickens, Shelley and Wordsworth and apply maths to solve problems in the new-look GCSEs unveiled yesterday. Michael Gove said that his reformed GCSEs would be ‘more demanding, more fulfilling and more stretching’. Specifications for the content of the redesigned qualifications are intended to require deeper and more stretching study, with little or no coursework and exams at the end of the course” – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch - The NUT - the union that loves to say "Never"

…but his plans also revive speculation that he wants to be Tory leader

“As Michael Gove stood at the dispatch box presenting his overhaul of GCSEs to parliament, he told MPs it was part of his grand ambition to raise aspiration among school pupils. But his latest policy salvo has only increased speculation that the education secretary’s real aim is to rise up the Conservative party’s ranks, with the eventual goal of becoming leader” – Financial Times

  • Gove’s GCSE plans do not go far enough – The Times Comment (£)
  • An exam system that puts pupils first – Daily Mail Comment
  • “Coursework was boring and time-consuming, but at least it kept our parents occupied” – Matt cartoon, Daily Telegraph
  • Jeremy Hunt’s plans to ban fizzy drinks from all schools – Daily Express
  • Teacher “fled with pupil after four-month sex fling” - Sun

(Fox dined in Cameron's flat, "return as Chief Whip imminent")

FOX LIAM SMILING"His rehabilitation has been smoothed by an early victory in his defamation case against millionaire Harvey Boulter over comments made before he resigned from the Cabinet in 2011, after a storm over his adviser and best man Adam Werritty. ‘The smart money’s on Liam as chief whip,’ says my source." - Ephraim Hardcastle, Daily Mail 

Bad news 1):  Immigration chaos “won’t ever be fixed”

“The boss of Britain’s new immigration body yesterday said its chaotic visa processing system will never be fixed. Sarah Rapson, who started as director general of UK Visas and Immigration 54 days ago, believes she will 'never finish the job'. She told MPs she could not rule out finding more backlogs of unprocessed cases in the system she had inherited. ‘Are we ever going to say about this really quite difficult organisation, with a set of complex things it has to do, ‘it is perfect’? I don’t think so,’ she told the Home Affairs Select Committee” – Daily Mail

  • Outrage as new EU immigration guide helps migrants claim benefits – Daily Express

Bad news 2): Workers suffer deepest cut in real wages since records began

“Describing this downturn as the longest and deepest slump in a century, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says workers have suffered unprecedented pay cuts of 6% in real terms over the last five years. Historically, real wages rise by about 2% a year. This suggests that people are more than 15% worse off than they would have been if the pre-crisis wage trends had continued" - Guardian

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson urges bold investment in London infrastructure and housing...

Boris_7801“The mayor reiterated his call for ‘Victorian boldness’ from the government in a commitment to build a new 24-hour four-runway hub on the Thames estuary, to sit alongside the London Gateway, the deepwater cargo terminal that opens this autumn. ‘It would be a lasting solution that would give London a competitive edge for the next 50 years’” – Financial Times

  • Mayor confronts Osborne over cycling network cuts - PoliticsHome

> Yesterday:

...and riot police storm London squat to foil G8 protest

“Hundreds of riot police were deployed against G8 protesters in London yesterday as the anti-capitalist group’s headquarters were raided and more than 50 people were arrested. Scotland Yard displayed a huge show of force at the start of a week of demonstrations against the international summit, due to begin in Northern Ireland on Monday” – The Times (£)

Paterson to push moral and ethnical case for GM crops

Paterson_Cabinet2
"The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, is expected to use a speech next week to outline the start of a new government approach to GM to ensure Britain “is not left behind” in agricultural science. The move comes as 61 per cent of UK farmers now say they would like to grow GM crops after a disastrous 12-month cycle of poor weather that is expected significantly to reduce harvest yields" - The Independent

Daniel Finkelstein: The state pension at 70. No welfare for under-21s. Privatised roads. Fire service insurance. No more local council leisure services. In short, a dramatic downsizing of the role of the state. That's the big news from Miliband's manoevre on spending - whoever wins the next election

"If, therefore, the Labour leadership is serious in any way about agreeing to George Osborne’s spending path it has committed itself to a fundamental reshaping of the State. That is what the figures mean. It is what they will require. Abandoning the argument against the spending plans means abandoning much of the Left’s argument against the Centre Right’s view of the size and shape of government." - The Times (£)

Ban on conflicting outside interests for Select Committe Chairman moves closer

YEO TIM"David Cameron, John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, and Andrew Lansley, the Leader of the House, have paved the way for new rules governing the heads of select committees after Tim Yeo stepped aside as chairman of the panel scrutinising energy policy. Select committee chairmen from across the political spectrum demanded urgent changes after it emerged that Mr Yeo had received hundreds of thousands of pounds from green energy companies." - The Times (£)

> Recently:

Financial watchdog asks for PPI files

“The City watchdog has asked The Times to hand over information obtained from an undercover investigation into Britain’s biggest high street bank, which found evidence of failures at its largest PPI complaint handling unit. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which oversees banks and other financial firms, has asked for recordings, transcripts and documents obtained in connection with the investigation into Lloyds Banking Group’s payment protection insurance (PPI) processing unit at Royal Mint Court in London” – The Times (£)

 News in brief

  • Erdogan orders riot police to crush protest – The Times (£)
  • NHS trusts spend £2m to stop staff speaking out – Daily Telegraph
  • Greek “BBC” faces closure in austerity measures – The Times (£)
  • New laws will help consumers enforce oral agreements – Daily Mail
  • Cancer database revolution will save thousands – The Times (£)
  • Washington rages at Snowden - The Independent
  • Computers used by MPs access Facebook 400 times more often than BBC News – Daily Mail
  • Child heart surgery report due - BBC
  • Racing mourns the death of Henry Cecil – The Times (£)

And finally…

Screen shot 2013-06-12 at 08.32.50Boris Johnson describes David Cameron as “a girly swot”

“Boris Johnson has dismissed David Cameron as a ‘girly swot’ because he got a first class degree. The London Mayor, who got a 2:1 degree in classics from Balliol College Oxford, lashed out after he was teased about the Prime Minister’s greater academic accomplishment. Quizzed about Mr Cameron and his brother Jo Johnson - now head of Mr Cameron’s policy board - both of whom got firsts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, the Mayor pointed out that he won a scholarship and they did not” – Daily Mail

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