Newslinks for Monday 16th September 2013
4.15pm Cllr Victoria Borwick on Comment: Why aren't the Conservatives encouraging more events like Conservative Renewal?
3.15pm ToryDiary:"Should the Labour Party get the most votes it is most unlikely that they will need to be bothering Mr Clegg and his colleagues." 2015 coalition conundrums: What if Labour get the most seats but Conservatives get most votes?
2.30pm WATCH: Cable on the Conservatives: "Not our kind of politics"
1.30pm ToryDiary: "Today's vote certainly points to a welcome degree of pragmatism among many of the delegates (memorably, one of the rebel speakers actually criticised the idea that policies should be pragmatic) but it is not final proof that the Lib Dems are willing to make all of the tough decisions involved in being in government." Clegg faces down the Lib Dem left over economic policy, but they remain a disunited party
11.15am Nick Webb on Comment: A Conservative countdown to Silk
Also on ToryDiary: Coming for Party Conference - a ConHome redesign
Columnist Jesse Norman MP: It's time for us all to talk and listen to each other a little bit more
Syed Kamall MEP on Comment: How we Conservatives can roll up our sleeves to help get people off welfare and improve their lives
Local Government: Cllr John Hart says Localism in Devon means helping the unemployed find jobs
"In an attempt to take credit for the emerging recovery, Clegg has decided to stage what Cable and some on the left regard as an artificial showdown over economic policy during a set-piece two-hour debate and vote on Monday. Clegg wanted Cable to speak in favour of the call not to break from the coalition's agreed deficit reduction plan, with his aides pointing out that the deputy prime minister expected all Lib Dem MPs to turn up for the vote. But Cable's aides said he will stay away from the debate, which is being billed as a test of Clegg's authority. Cable believed a compromise could have been reached between the leadership and the left over their amendments to the economic motion, especially the right for councils to borrow more to build." - The Guardian
- The Liberal Democrats were plunged into civil war last night as Vince Cable openly defied calls from Nick Clegg to back the Government’s economic policy. The Business Secretary signalled that he would not back a motion supporting the Coalition’s deficit reduction plans, which will be put forward by the Lib Dem leader today at the party’s conference. Mr Cable issued a statement last night saying there were ‘aspects’ of the motion he could not support. This was seen as a clear signal that he wants the Government to increase borrowing." - Daily Mail
Alexander v Falkner: Lib Dems at war over Trident
"The Lib Dem policy motion proposes "going to sea only with unarmed missiles and storing a reduced stockpile of warheads for redeployment within a specified timeframe". But more constant patrols could be resumed for limited periods when "a deteriorating security picture demands this". Baroness Falkner, co-chair of the Lib Dem backbench international affairs committee, ridiculed the policy, saying: "How does a posture of sending out boats unarmed actually deliver credibility?"... Mr Alexander replied: "This proposition that a nuclear threat from another nuclear weapons state, overnight, out of the blue, to be a threat to the United Kingdom, is not supported by any analysis that I have seen." - BBC
"Mr Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, accused Conservatives of attempting to “destroy” the UK’s renewables industry. He singled out Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, warning that he is trying to “cull” wind turbines." - Daily Telegraph
Lib Dems would demand tax free minimum wage in 2015 coalition talks
"Nick Clegg says he will push to ensure no one on the minimum wage pays income tax if the Lib Dems are in government after the next election. The Lib Dem leader said coalition government was good for the UK but did not indicate whether he favoured partnership with the Tories or Labour." - BBC
- "The Liberal Democrats, like their leader, remain a paradox – and contradiction is not an attractive quality when the economic stakes are so high." - Leader Daily Telegraph
"More current Liberal Democrat supporters – those who would still vote for the party now – believe the party has changed for the worse since the 2010 election (36 per cent) than think it has got better (20 per cent), according to a YouGov survey.. ...The YouGov poll, commissioned by the Labour Uncut blog, shows that a majority (53 per cent) of current Tory supporters believe their party has got better since the last election, with only 11 per cent saying it has got worse. Among Labour supporters, the figures are 46 per cent and 14 per cent respectively." - The Independent
- "According to polling that YouGov have done for Labour Uncut, 50 per cent of Labour supporters think Labour should go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats – even if it means Nick Clegg staying in government as Liberal Democrat leader – if that's necessary to stop a continuation of the current coalition." - Jonathan Todd The Independent
- ToryDiary: The problem with the Lib Dems: No-one likes them, and they do care
- Comment, Lord Ashcroft presents his latest polling: UKIP's ratings in Conservative-Labour marginals threaten to put Miliband in Number 10
Cable promises to end abuse of zero hours contract...
"Business Secretary Vince Cable will vow to end the abuse of zero-hours contracts by some employers in a speech to the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow. He will say economic recovery must not come at the cost of workers' rights." - BBC
...and ban on "rogue" company directors
"A "small rotten core" of company directors, including bankers, are to face tougher laws to ensure they are banned from running British businesses, Vince Cable will say on Monday as he unveils a series of measures to promote a fairer economy. In his keynote speech to the Liberal Democrat conference, the business secretary will announce plans for a tightening of the law to end the "slap on the wrist" approach to "dodgy directors"." - The Guardian
Lib Dems "will offer EU in/out referendum"
"Nick Clegg plans to include a referendum pledge in his party’s next manifesto. The move will leave Labour as the only mainstream party resisting demands for voters to have a say on the country’s links with Brussels. It is another boost to the Daily Express’s crusade for Britain to quit the EU. But Tory backbenchers last night insisted that the Lib Dems had betrayed voters in the past over Europe and could not be trusted." - Daily Express
Government should "consider" ban on veils says Lib Dem Minister..
"The government should consider banning young Muslim women from wearing veils in public places such as schools, a Home Office minister has said. Jeremy Browne said he was "uneasy" about restricting freedoms, but urged a national debate on the state's role in stopping veils being imposed on girls." - BBC
"This past month should be a wake-up call for feminism. Birmingham Metropolitan College has lifted the ban on students wearing the niqab and Blackfriars Crown Court has similarly allowed a defendant to give evidence whilst fully veiled. In my opinion it is time for politicians to stop delegating this to individual institutions as a minor matter of dress code and instead set clear national guidance. There are serious consequences for women if they are hidden from view in our courts and our classrooms. For individual campaigners this may be a free choice but what of those who, once the niqab becomes an accepted norm, are pressured into compliance as a badge of piety or purity? It would be naive to think that a thirteen year old would have complete freedom to reject family or peer group pressure." - Sarah Wollaston Daily Telegraph
New Lib Dem groping allegations
"Fresh sex harassment claims against senior Lib Dems emerged last night. Both male and female members told a meeting they were pestered or groped by party figures, while others claimed there remained a ‘cultural problem’ with sexism. One female activist described how older men would often hug her, but then put their hands on her lower back before letting them ‘slip’ to her bottom. Others felt they just ‘had to put up with’ abuse and claimed their concerns were still not being taken seriously, despite Nick Clegg vowing to tackle the problem following disputed allegations involving Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard." - Daily Mail
Lib Dems reject block on internet porn
"David Cameron’s plans to introduce tougher controls on the internet to block hardcore pornography were rejected on Sunday night by Liberal Democrat activists. They denounced the moves – designed to make it difficult for youngsters to access explicit sites – as “illiberal” and overwhelmingly demanded a rethink by the Coalition." - The Independent
"They would be providing many homeowners – especially those on the threshold of being clobbered – with a weird incentive to reduce the attractiveness of their homes, perhaps by planting buddleia on the roof or artistically smashing the windows for when the inspector calls." - Boris Johnson Daily Telegraph
Quentin Letts on Tim Farron leadership ambition
"Forwards, friends, toward the setting sun! Tim Farron MP, ‘president’ of the party and off-the-peg northerner (his favourite football team is called ‘Rovers’), made a speech of astonishing baldness. He was talking about Nick Clegg’s job – and he wanted it. ‘Life is short and we will all be forgotten,’ cried Mr Farron (translation: Clegg, you’re expendable). ‘I want to build and lead a new consensus’ (translation: I want to be party leader and coalesce with Labour).... 'On my watch we will not join the anti-immigration rhetoric,’ said Mr Farron. He said ‘on my watch’ more than once. It was difficult to hear this speech as anything but a leadership challenge. Not even Gordon Brown back in the days of Tony Blair’s premiership was this unsubtle." - Quentin Letts Daily Mail
"Benefit cheats face increased jail terms of up to ten years under an unprecedented crackdown on those who “flout the system”, Britain’s most senior prosecutor will announce today. More cases will be pursued and tougher sentences sought by sending suspects straight to Crown Court, Keir Starmer, QC, will say as he sets out new guidelines for the Crown Prosecution Service....The move comes amid a general government crackdown on benefit fraud. In August it claimed to have saved hundreds of millions of pounds by introducing better fraud prevention and reducing errors in the tax and benefit system. Measures included more rigorous monitoring of claims by the DWP and the naming and shaming of fraudsters. The amount of money confiscated from benefit cheats has also risen 50 per cent in the past year." - The Times (£)
>Today: Syed Kamall MEP on Comment: How we Conservatives can roll up our sleeves to help get people off welfare and improve their lives
Cameron calls on interns to speak out
"David Cameron will urge unpaid interns to report their employers to the authorities if they are being asked to do a job rather than just work experience. He has thrown his weight behind a TV campaign this autumn that will inform young people of their rights and employers’ responsibilities when they accept unpaid positions." - The Times (£)
"The Rochdale pensioner who sealed Gordon Brown’s downfall before the last general election has issued a damning verdict on Ed Miliband and his Shadow Cabinet...In a blow for the current Labour leader, Mrs Duffy said that Mr Miliband was not on course to become Prime Minister. She said that the party had failed to draw up attractive policies and that shadow ministers were anonymous. “He’s going to have to pull his finger out isn’t he, and get moving, get some policies out,” she said. “They’ll be very lucky if they get in, Labour. You know, you talk to people and they don’t know who they are. ‘Who are you talking about’, someone will say, and so you don’t carry on talking. Ask anybody in the street, I bet they can’t name who they are. They’re not doing well up north, there’s nothing happening up here at all. “[Ed Miliband] wants to start saying what he’s going to do if he did get in.” - The Times (£)
"Fast forward to the last month and Mr Obama began to distance himself from his own red line. It wasn’t my red line, he pleaded, but the world’s. There have been almost too many flip-flops to mention. John Kerry, Mr Obama’s Secretary of State, first said that any the military strikes would be “unbelievably, small, limited”. Mr Obama had to disown him by asserting that the “US military doesn’t do pin pricks’” After Mr Kerry had opened the door to “boots on the ground”, Mr Obama ruled them out. Then, after Mr Kerry had perhaps accidentally floated the possibility of allowing Assad to decommission his chemical arsenal, a State Department official described Mr Kerry’s words as entirely “rhetorical.” She went on to explain: “This brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons.” But America is now trusting him to disarm. Worse, the channel for this trust is Vladimir Putin, a man trained by the KGB to lie and deceive." - Tim Montgomerie The Times (£)
"Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chances of winning this week’s German general election were given a major boost last night after her Bavarian conservative allies won an overwhelming victory in a key poll in the country’s richest state." - The Independent
>Today: The Deep End: The German economic model is a poor alternative to Anglo-Saxon capitalism
News in brief
- Parents to be able to "shop around" for school uniforms - BBC
- More small firms recruiting - Daily Mail
- Rightmove predicts six per cent housing price rise - The Guardian
- Legalising cannabis would cit budget deficit by £1.25 billion - The Independent
- NHS spends £4 million on gagging orders - Daily Telegraph
"Michael Gove has hatched a cunning plan to revive the economy — deploy Lib Dems to help spread economic growth beyond the South East. The Education Secretary has been advising them on where to visit, eat and generally spend, spend, spend in Glasgow. He told David Laws, one of his ministers, to dine out at Rogano, a decidedly posh art-deco fish restaurant, and warned him not to miss out on the city’s plentiful bookshops. He also advised Mr Laws to head to Ibrox, home of Rangers FC, who were taking on Arbroath. Had he obeyed, Mr Laws would have witnessed a blue team outwitting, overpowering and outplaying a relative minnow. Rangers won 5-1. A cruel joke from the boss?" - The Times (£)
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