Newslinks for Friday 12th July 2013
5.30pm Ali Renison on Comment: To win in the north, the Conservatives must deploy their northern MPs
5pm Local Government: Council by-election results from yesterday
4.45pm MPsETC: "Lord Ampthill has issued a candidate's statement saying his "likes" include , understatement, rain, Hornblower, the law, Georgette Heyer, tax incentives, and oak furniture." Hereditary peers' byelection
3.30pm ToryDiary: "The Prime Minister has an aspiration of making a third of Tory Ministers women. There are 48 Conservative women MPs out of 304 Conservative MPs in total. Cameron's aspiration therefore raises that hoary old debate about promotion on merit." The reshuffle: A little local difficulty with male Conservative MPs
3.15pm LeftWatch: Why should Labour oppose a private school joining the state system?
2pm Justin Tomlinson MP and Robin Walker MP on Comment: How to protect vulnerable people who turn to payday lenders
- Labour councillor deselected "for being a Blairite"
- Contrary to Ed Miliband's claims fewer housing schemes are stalled than under Labour
Noon: Lord Lexden on Comment reviews Douglas Hurd and Edward Young's new biography of Disraeli. "Though unfounded in fact, what has come to be believed about Disraeli over 130 years constitutes a story of its own, one of the two lives which form the subtitle of this book. The other life, as extraordinary in its way as the tenacious collection of myths that surround it, is the one that he actually led." Disraeli. No, not a "One Nation Tory". But a tenacious believer in imagination and courage.
10.15am ToryDiary: Osborne's tax pledge heralds a class war, 2015 General Election
On ToryDiary, Peter Hoskin reports an impression that emerged from yesterday's Lord Ashcroft Polls event: People don’t believe politicians when it comes to immigration
Iain Dale's Friday Diary: It's time to let Gavin Barwell take charge of Conservative revival
MajorityConservatism: In the final piece in our series on broadening the appeal of the Party, Stephen Crabb MP explains Why it is making progress in Wales
Alex Morton on Comment: Striking the right balance in the social housing sector
Local Government ends its Unite Week: Save Ed - scrap Unite's taxpayer funding for union official
No more tax rises promises Osborne...
"George Osborne fired the first salvo in one of the next election’s key battles yesterday by vowing to avoid further tax rises to plug the deficit. In a move designed to steal a march on both the Liberal Democrats and Labour, the Chancellor said that he would eliminate the £23 billion hole in the public finances after the election by cutting spending. “I’m clear that tax increases are not required to achieve this,” he told the Treasury Select Committee. “This can be achieved through spending reductions. I don’t think we have reached the end-point in reforming welfare.” - The Times (£)
- "Speaking to a lunch organised by the Parliamentary Press Gallery, Mr Osborne said the cuts already set out in the Budget in March meant that he would not have to bring in more taxes to balance the books and complete the process of “fiscal consolidation”....Mr Osborne added that it was up to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats 'to explain therefore what taxes they might put up'." - Daily Telegraph
"The Chancellor said he was “absolutely committed” to the measure, worth up to £150 for every couple.In a move that is likely to please many backbench Tory MPs, Mr Osborne said yesterday that he will announce the plans in his Autumn Statement....Yesterday Mr Osborne said: “I’ve always committed to introducing a married couples tax break. David Cameron campaigned to be the leader of the party on that promise. I was his campaign manager." - Daily Express
Cameron "trying to oust" head of civil service
"David Cameron is trying to force the head of Britain’s civil service out of his job because of his frustration at the slow pace of Whitehall reform, The Independent has learnt. Sir Bob Kerslake is understood to have been told that the Prime Minister would like to replace him in the role he has held for less than two years, after failing to successfully implement the Government’s civil service reforms...It is believed that the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has been asked by Mr Cameron to draw up a shortlist of possible successors. In a significant break with tradition, the successful candidate could come from outside the civil service." - The Independent
"Education Secretary Michael Gove has told Parliament's spending watchdog to "stick" a planned £6,000 MPs' pay rise. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) says salaries should increase to £74,000 by 2015, but that perks should be cut and pensions made less generous. Party leaders have criticised the rise but Ipsa's boss argues it will bring MPs into line with other professionals. Mr Gove called Ipsa "silly" and said parliamentarians were 'well paid'." - BBC
..but will Cameron take the money?...
"The Prime Minister has refused to rule out personally accepting a rise while the rest of the country struggles to cope with rising living costs and Government cuts. Both Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, have said they would not accept a pay hike which would see their salaries rise to £74,000." - Daily Telegraph
"We are recommending a package of reforms. Getting rid of the “golden parachutes”, bringing pensions into line with the rest of the public sector, further tightening of the expenses regime and, yes, a pay rise of about £6,300. Not now, I hear you say. But the time is never good to tackle this question. Look at the experience of the last 30 years, which teaches us that this issue will never be politically convenient – or popular. And so we are addressing the question now, but doing so in a way which is mindful of the economic context and mindful of the pressures on taxpayers. Taken together, the changes we’ve introduced to MPs’ costs and expenses and to their pay and pensions will save the taxpayer some £7m a year." - Andrew Macdonald The Independent
"A proposed law to force firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets will be scrapped today. Ministers have spent over a year considering the idea, which campaigners say is backed by a majority of MPs and the public. But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will tell Parliament there is not enough evidence it would have a significant impact." - Daily Mail
Tories try to shed "party of the rich" image
"A drive to shed the Conservatives’ image as the “party of the rich” will be launched by Tory MPs next week as they try to reposition the party as a champion of the low paid. The campaign will target working class and ethnic minority voters outside the Tories’ South East heartlands as part of the party’s effort to win crucial marginal seats in the North and Midlands. It will need to do so to win an overall majority at the 2015 election." - The Independent
- Ideas include look at trying to fund increases in the national minimum wage through employer tax contributions. It also wants to look at devolving planning powers completely to northern cities to replicate the success of Preston in northern England...They will also look at ways to freeze fuel duty up to and beyond 2015 and abolishing unnecessary and expensive renewable energy targets. The group will launch with a new pamphlet on Monday with backing from modernising Tory MPs like Rob Halfon and Greg Clark." - Daily Telegraph
- Iain Dale's Friday Diary: It's time to let Gavin Barwell take charge of Conservative revival
- MajorityConservatism: In the final piece in our series on broadening the appeal of the Party, Stephen Crabb MP explains Why it is making progress in Wales
"Civil servants put £1.1billion on taxpayer-funded credit cards last year despite David Cameron’s pledge to curb their use. More than 137,000 Whitehall officials, quangocrats and town hall chiefs used the cards to splash out on plush hotels, gourmet meals and fine wines. The bill for 2012-2013 was four times that of 2002. It was also no lower than in Labour’s last year in power – even though the number of civil servants has fallen." - Daily Mail
BBC chiefs "misled MPs" over pay off
"The BBC’s former director general Mark Thompson yesterday accused its governing body of misleading MPs over a £949,000 severance payoff to one of its top executives. A war of words – described by MPs as a ‘soap opera’ – exploded between Mr Thompson and the BBC Trust as emails emerged that cast doubt on the evidence given by its chairman Chris Patten to a Commons inquiry." - Daily Mail
"This week saw the biggest step forward yet in the campaign to allow bank customers to move current accounts as easily as they switch mobile phone providers. Under account number portability (ANP), customers could keep their account number and sort code when switching, and standing orders or direct debits would not need to be moved. Switching would be hassle-free and almost instantaneous. There is already a plan to introduce seven day account switching this September. This is positive, but it won’t deal with the administrative burden of moving accounts, remove barriers to entry, or tackle the oligopoly of the big banks and their crumbling legacy systems. Only ANP will be a game-changer for standards of customer service." Andrea Leadsom MP City AM
Clegg "open to deal with Miliband"
"After a poisonous start, the Miliband relationship has improved. It is unlikely ever to be warm. Mr Clegg struggles to contain his annoyance at Labour’s ganging up with the Tories to scupper electoral reform and
elections to the Lords. Matters improved marginally thanks to the illiberal, and hopefully now dormant, plans to impose statutory oversight on the press — an irony that Mr Clegg choses not to dwell on." - John Kampfner The Times (£)
> Yesterday: Profile: Danny Alexander, by Andrew Gimson: The Coalition pillar who might yet succeed Nick Clegg
MacShane charged over expenses fraud
"Former MP Denis MacShane is to be charged with false accounting over parliamentary expenses claims, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of the CPS special crime division said: "Having thoroughly reviewed the evidence gathered by the police, I have decided there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to bring a criminal charge. This charge relates to fraudulent claims with a total value of £12,900." - BBC
"State financing would nationalise politics, guaranteeing income sources based on past election results, reinforce the existing cartel in Westminster, reduce competition for voters and make it almost impossible for new parties – such as the SNP, Ukip or the Greens – from ever breaking through. State support will come with strings attached. Parties will become even more consensual and less appealing to an alienated electorate. MPs increasingly belong to a new class whose views are distinct from that of large swathes of the public; this worrying trend will intensify." - Allister Heath City AM
...Frederick Forsyth agrees
"There are only three choices: the taxpayer, private individuals from personal cash, or corporate/syndicalist institutions. Both the second and third have been widely criticised but actually the first, the taxpayer, is the worst option. There is no great danger in the latter two, provided no party becomes excessively dependent on one source, for he who pays the piper still definitely calls the tune. But Labour is now 90 per cent financially dependent on the unions. So who is the master, who the servant?" Frederick Forsyth Daily Express
Men need to achieve equality says Fraser Nelson
"Among poor families, boys are falling further and further behind – and are 30 per cent less likely to apply for university than girls. The Labour MP Frank Field has long pointed out how deindustrialisation (which happened even faster under Blair than under Thatcher) has robbed these young men of life options. Yes, office jobs may replace factory jobs, so the economy ticks over. But what about teenagers not cut out for university, who used to go straight into a trade? They struggle to find a role in society." - Fraser Nelson Daily Telegraph
Welby must back real social justice not welfare dependency
"Archbishop Welby’s comments this week about quantitative easing show he has a much better understanding of the effects of government on the poor than some of his colleagues’ benefits’ll-fix-it attitude. Perhaps this polite political operator can wean his Church off its addiction to the state and into a maturity where it campaigns for real social justice, not just benefit payments that cover lazy politicians’ backs." - Isabel Hardman Daily Telegraph
News in Brief
- Labour lead up to 8% - YouGov
- Scottish independence would threaten Trident. - FT
- EU plans red tape to try to stop fracking - The Sun
- G4S and Serco overcharged for tagging criminals - FT
- Consult us on Syria demand MPs - BBC
- Poll shows Kevin Rudd gaining in Queensland - Guardian
- Unite warns Labour donations will plunge - BBC
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