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Newslinks for Wednesday 5th June 2013

4.30pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: We should positively eschew any involvement in Syria

3.15pm WATCH Cameron at PMQs: "I know I've been in Ibiza but Labour has been taking policy-altering substances."

Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 14.43.332pm Tory Diary: Andrew Gimson's PMQs sketch - "By the end, the Prime Minister was accusing his opponent of conducting more U-turns than in a Grand Prix, though we are not aware there are any U-turns in that sport." The session was like a Punch and Judy show in which no blow connected with its target

Noon Stephen Hammond MP on Comment: How we're cracking down on careless drivers

11.15am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Former Tory Treasurer Peter Cruddas receives major boost from judge’s ruling on his libel battle

11am Kirsty O'Brien on Comment: "Tonight I'll be joining hundreds of my fellow Scots in London to hear Alistair Darling, Danny Alexander and Lord Strathclyde launch the London branch of Better Together - the cross-party and non-party campaign to ensure Scotland remains a strong part of the UK." Why we're Better Together in the United Kingdom

10am Greg Clark MP's Weekly Letter from a Treasury Minister: Balls's "iron discipline" is fit only for the scrapheap

ToryDiary: Five ways to sell the cuts

Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 07.52.15
Also on ToryDiary: Theresa May launches new push on immigration today

Henry Hill's Red White and Blue Column: Stormont bars convicted terrorists from special advisor positions

Lord Alton and Benedict Rogers on Comment: Yes, there's progress in Burma. But there's a very, very long way to go

Local Government: Labour councillor's class war attack on shadow minister

On MPsETC, we have a match report from a major sporting event. Gnawed nails for Big Name Sponsor as AFC Bluebirds cling on for close win. (Coming soon: grudge match with Demon Eyes)

The Deep End: Behold! A new and exciting way of ignoring and irritating people at the same time

Peers support same-sex marriage by a margin of two-to-one...

Gay wedding cake"There will now be a series of other votes but the clear signal from the proceedings was that the legislation will now pass into law. The proposals have already split the Conservative Party, as half of its MPs opposed the legislation in the Commons last month. In a bid to appease religious leaders critical of the Bill, Baroness Stowell, the deputy Tory chief whip in the House of Lords, said that ministers will now consider changes to the legislation to offer churches further protection if they refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies." - Daily Telegraph

...as the Government's Faith Minister abstains

"The faith minister and former Tory party co-chairman abstained on a crunch vote in the House of Lords where an attempt to throw out the bill was crushed…Lady Warsi refused to follow other Conservatives and vote in favour of the Bill, telling the Mail: ‘I have a number of ongoing concerns which have been raised by faith communities and others." - Daily Mail

  • "As the debate drew towards a close, Lord Tebbit reitered his widely reported concerns about the possible effect on the law of royal succession, namely that the country could one day be ruled by the test tube baby of a lesbian queen." - Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • "Labour's Lord Faulkner had just admiringly described the euphoric scenes in the New Zealand parliament which followed the passage of its own gay marriage bill – culminating in the lusty singing of a Maori love song – when Lord Vinson rose to his feet." - Donald MacIntrye, The Independent

Meanwhile in the Commons, MPs vote down green target

YEO TIM"A proposal to make Britain's electricity supply almost entirely green by 2030 was narrowly defeated by MPs today, a result critics say will make it much more difficult for low-carbon energy generators to raise much-needed finance. Some 267 MPs voted in favour of the amendment to the Energy Bill, which was opposed by 290 MPs, giving a majority of 23. Tim Yeo, the green Tory MP who tabled the amendment, said he was disappointed by the result." - The Independent

  • Homes near wind farms ‘could receive 20% off power bill’ - Financial Times

McLoughlin crackdown on motorway drivers who clog up middle lane

"Mr McLoughlin said unacceptable and potentially lethal behaviour such as texting, tweeting or using Facebook at the wheel was causing fatal accidents. Hands-free mobile phone use while driving is legal. But the use of hand-held phones has been banned since 2003 and became an endorsable offence in 2007. In today’s crackdown, fines for uninsured drivers are set to rise from £200 to £300." - Daily Mail

Osborne to National Union of Ministers: settle late - and you'll pay

OSBORNE SWORD"The Chancellor will announce £11.5bn of cuts for the 2015-16 financial year in three weeks – but so far only £2.5bn have been agreed, as senior members of the Government battle to protect their own departments from further suffering. There is growing speculation in Whitehall that spending on schools will be squeezed by £1bn, even though it is officially one of three “ring-fenced” budgets along with health and overseas aid." - The Independent

> Today: ToryDiary - Five ways to sell the cuts

Cameron calls in tax havens ahead of G8 summit

"Britain has made a clampdown on corporate and individual tax avoidance the central theme of its chairmanship of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland on 17 and 18 June, and Cameron has decided that he cannot be a credible chair of the summit if he is not seen to be trying to put Britain's own house in order. The intensity of the pressure that Cameron will place on the 10 crown dependencies and overseas territories to be more co-operative has, however, not yet been determined, amid signs there are some disputes between Downing Street and the Treasury on what to demand." - The Guardian

Villiers: Violence in Northern Ireland could last for years

VILLIERS THERESA"In an interview with The Independent, Ms Villiers issued a sobering forecast about the continued ability of splinter groups to stage terror attacks. The Secretary of State said that while she was optimistic about Northern Ireland’s general prospects, she was concerned about the looming Orange marching season, when disturbances often break out. She described Loyalist protests about flags in recent months as “hugely worrying”." - The Independent

> Today: Henry Hill's Red White and Blue Column - Stormont bars convicted terrorists from special advisor positions

Maude says Ministers should appoint more aides and that civil servants shouldn't have a job for life

"Ministers should be entitled to appoint their own private office of hand-picked aides from both in and outside the civil service, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister said, as he claimed Whitehall was still gripped by "a bias to inertia". Maude also proposed in a speech that civil servants should only be presumed to be in post for four years, saying he did not understand why Whitehall "had the same hierarchal system where some senior people seem to have a job for life regardless of their performance"." - The Guardian

Grayling goes on the attack over legal aid

Grayling May 2011
"Criminal barrister Balbir Singh topped the legal merry-go-round with an eye-watering £493,022 of public cash for defending criminals in 2011-12. The Birmingham-based lawyer specialises in immigration, human rights and terrorism cases. The second highest earner was Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, who was paid £442,951, Ministry of Justice figures revealed. The biggest earner from civil legal aid was Paul Storey QC, who specialises in family law and received £428,192." - The Sun

Mercer fall-out 1) Lobbying Bill to be published by end of next month

"However, the measures have renewed Coalition tensions after it emerged that the bill will also include provisions which could impose new restrictions on trade union funding of the Labour Party. The Government has sought to change the law following disclosures by The Telegraph about MPs and peers taking money from undercover reporters posing as lobbyists. Lobbying reform has previously been delayed by questions of whether companies and charities should be regarded as lobbyists." - Daily Telegraph

Mercer fall-out 2) Carswell and Goldsmith line up against Clegg recall plan

Carswell Douglas Central Lobby"Under the current plans, 10 per cent of a constituency electorate could trigger a by-election if an MP is heavily censored by the Commons sleaze committee. But Tory constitutional reformers such as Douglas Carswell and Zac Goldsmith argued that the mechanism would give too much power to a committee of MPs and too little to voters. They urged Mr Clegg to rewrite the plans or risk disappointing voters who thought that they were being given a new check on errant MPs." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - If the Tory leadership wants to restore trust in politics, they should avoid playing politics over the unions

Boles says departmental meetings are "a waste of time"

“You don’t discover anything in meetings in the department,” he said. “You don’t discover what is happening. You only discover that when you are out and about.” In a discussion held by the Institute for Government (IfG) about his first nine months in the job, Mr Boles said: “The main thing about being a minister is not about the department, it’s about Parliament. Half my job is talking to MPs.” He claimed the next twelve months would be about implementing and delivering public sector reforms before a shift to “political campaigning.” - The Times (£)

Nick De Bois: Hunt should halt hospital closures and mergers

DeBois Nick"Nick de Bois, secretary of the powerful Tory backbench 1992 Committee, said that until the NHS stopped “funnelling patients to A&E” the Health Secretary must “call a halt” to the programme of hospital reconfigurations. His comments will increase pressure on Mr Hunt ahead of a debate on the A&E crisis in Parliament on Wednesday. It comes as a new survey of more than 100 of the country’s most successful hospitals found that seven out of 10 believed the accident and emergency system is at a “tipping point”." - The Independent

  • Hospitals must close to save NHS, say managers - The Times (£)
  • Treatment must be moved into patients’ homes. The unpopular course is the right one - Times Editorial (£)
  • How to fix your A&E emergency, Mr Hunt - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

King and Lawson press for RBS split

"Chancellor George Osborne has argued a split would require him to nationalise fully RBS at a cost of up to £10billion and the process could delay returning the bank to the private sector. Former chancellor Lord Lawson and outgoing Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King are among the supporters of hiving off RBS’s toxic assets into a separate bad bank. Under this plan the Government would hold on to the so-called bad bank to provide more time for these bad loans to recover in value." - Daily Express

Bercow says Eastern European immigrants show more “aptitude and commitment” to work than British people - during visit to Romania

Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 08.29.04"During a visit to Bucharest, Mr Bercow spoke about the “important wave of immigrants” that have come to Britain in recent years, and praised their work ethic. “I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration, any state that wants to protect its own people should do this, but there are also great advantages,” he said. “I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven’t always seen in our labour force.” - Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie: Gove won't be leader

"Mr Gove has made it clear to his closest allies that he will stick with David and George to the end, but he’s not preparing a leadership bid. The author of a powerful book on the War on Terror would dearly love to be Home Secretary, but leader? One of his closest advisers says: “He thinks he would be rubbish at it and we all agree.” Michael Gove doesn’t know how to kill the frenzied speculation but Tory MPs should cross him off the list." - The Times (£)

  • Gove branded a 'snob' for criticising teenagers who read Twilight vampire books - Daily Mail

Isabel Hardman: Introducing the Curry Club

Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 08.31.29"But they are more self-effacing than self-promoting. Among their number are Tracey Crouch, Steve Barclay, Charlotte Leslie and Philip Lee. Their curry-loving companions include Simon Hart, Alun Cairns, Gavin Williamson and Andrew Percy. They’re often spotted swapping jokes and ideas in Portcullis House with other like-minded Tories such as Justin Tomlinson and Guto Bebb. Curry club myths abound: some members like to joke that there is an initiation ceremony." - Daily Telegraph

Mary Riddell looks ahead to Miliband's big speech on welfare tomorrow

"Tomorrow it falls to Mr Miliband to explain how he would reshape the welfare state. While the political calendar is dotted with epiphanies, most of them spurious, this is an authentic moment of truth. “By the end of the week, we’ll know if people have latched on to the ideas,” says a senior strategist. In other words, Labour is about to discover whether voters will deem it fit to govern. Composing Pericles’s funeral oration to his fellow Athenians might have seemed as onerous as a tweet compared with compiling Mr Miliband’s obituary to the overblown welfare state." - Daily Telegraph

> Today: Local Government - Labour councillor's class war attack on shadow minister

News in Brief

  • Britain must obey Strasbourg judges or quit the EU, warns new chief of European Court of Human Rights - Daily Mail
  • Scotland Yard targets Choudary - The Times (£)
  • Britain has highest food and energy inflation in EU - Daily Mail
  • Watford puzzled as Bilderberg arrives - Financial Times
  • Syrian attack victims test positive for sarin - The Guardian
  • MI5 chief Andrew Parker briefs Cabinet on Woolwich investigation - Daily Telegraph
  • New social mobility tsar James Caan says children must stand on their own two feet, despite employing his own daughters - The Independent
  • Dominic Grieve says that it would be 'very sensible' for the media to reveal celebrity suspects to stop web gossip - Daily Mail
  • Sarkozy gives recording of wife Carla Bruni’s love songs to Cameron on London visit - The Sun
  • Westminster Abbey salute to 60th anniversary of Queen's coronation - Daily Express

And finally…"Sir Winston Johnson" to write Churchill biography. He says that he wants to show how "one man can make all the difference'.

Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 08.18.54"In what many will regard as a mischievous nod towards his own leadership ambitions, the London mayor said that he wanted to use the new biography to show how “one man can make all the difference”. The project will hand Mr Johnson the chance to increase his popularity within his own party further by embracing the memory of the wartime leader. He already managed to boost his patriotic credentials with a crowd-pleasing speech at the end of the Olympics." - The Times (£)

"Even a year ago, I'd have laughed at the idea of Boris as Party leader.  But he's knuckled down as Mayor, got serious - up to a point - and is doing a good, solid, workmanlike job.  I now take it very seriously indeed. The Parliamentary Party didn't want Churchill as leader.  In the end, it had to have him because of a combination of force of personality and the turn of events - and the one working upon the other.  If we win in 2015, forget about a Boris moment.  But if we don't, have a small flutter on a Churchillian return." - Paul Goodman, Conservative Home, 30/3/11

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