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August 2010 newslinks

8 Sep 2010 09:01:46

Weblinks for 8th September 2010

6pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt says BBC should be inspected by National Audit Office

Screen shot 2010-09-08 at 16.04.544.00pm Gazette: Ian Cameron, the Prime Minister's father, has died

2.15pm ToryDiary: Four reasons why Tory members are probably too upbeat about the political climate

12.45pm Parliament: John Bercow allows debate on Andy Coulson and News of the World tomorrow

12.30pm ToryDiary: Big win for Clegg at PMQs as he reveals that Gordon Brown congratulated Andy Coulson for doing "honourable" thing when he resigned from News of the World

9.45am Gazette: Ann Widdecombe revealed as guest on the forthcoming season of TV's Strictly Come Dancing

ToryDiary: The referendum Britain really wants is on leaving the EU

Screen shot 2010-09-08 at 09.05.09 ToryDiary: We want your photographs for a souvenir magazine that will celebrate the Tories' road back to power

Tony Lodge on Platform: Why Labour’s High Speed Rail route must be shunted sideways

Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight: A plan to save the taxpayer billions from the state's wasteful IT budget

Local government: Attempt to thwart Council meeting clips on YouTube

Parliament: James Wharton MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

David Cameron warned his Cabinet 'this is where the rubber hits the road'

Cameron,-Osborne-and-Hague "The Prime Minister, officially back at work for the first time since the birth of daughter Florence last month, told ministers there would be significant challenges ahead. He acknowledged that the tough work starts now as the coalition prepares to unveil exactly where it will wield the axe to help pay down the huge deficit." - Daily Mail

George Osborne warns EU chiefs off Britain's £5bn rebate

OsborneEU "Mr Osborne said the rebate remained fully justified and warned EU leaders there was no point in raising the issue during forthcoming negotiations on the EU budget. He said: "I have no doubt that there will be some others who will want to put it into the mix, but they'll be wasting their time because we are not going to give way on the abatement [rebate], and people had better know that at the beginning of the process, because they'll certainly discover it at the end."" - Daily Mail

Daily Mail urges Osborne to take charge of "dysfunctional" tax collection service

"The tax authorities are sitting on a staggering backlog of another 18million cases stretching back years where they believe they got their sums wrong - but haven't got around to working out the details yet. When they do manage to add up the numbers, millions more Britons will be asked to pay up. But, as an increasing array of financial experts and politicians are asking, why should law-abiding taxpayers have to pay these huge bills when they can't be blamed for the original errors? Chancellor George Osborne is the man responsible for raising taxes. It's time for him to take charge of the dysfunctional institution that collects them." - Daily Mail leader

HSBC chairman Stephen Green stands down to become Trade Minister

Screen shot 2010-09-08 at 06.57.57 "The lay-preaching chairman of HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank, announced plans to quit yesterday to join the Government as a trade minister. Stephen Green, 61, a former management consultant, has worked at the bank for 28 years — the past four as chairman, successfully steering it through the credit crisis. The Government said the role, which will be unpaid, will focus on developing international relations to boost British businesses abroad and drive exports. Mr Green will receive a peerage, taking his seat in the Lords next year." - Times (£)

"David Cameron says he is “messianic” about trade, so it came as an enormous comfort to the prime minister when he finally managed to persuade someone to be his trade minister – almost four months after taking office. The fact that it was Stephen Green, the highly respected HSBC chairman with impeccable contacts in the emerging markets, brought unbridled relief at Number 10: Mr Cameron said he was “delighted. I know he will make an invaluable contribution towards this crucial agenda, helping to drive strong economic growth in the UK.”" - FT (£)

> Statement from Downing Street on appointment
> Paul Goodman on ToryDiary yesterday: Appointing Stephen Green would be a mistake

Lib Dems condemn Barclays Bank's choice of new Chief Executive - Times (£)

David Cameron has written to Colonel Gaddafi over stalled probe into 1984 murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher - BBC

"The Prime Minister raised Libya’s unwillingness to allow British police officers to enter the country to quiz witnesses in a private letter to President Colonel Gaddafi in July. The letter was backed up with further lobbying from Foreign secretary William Hague in August." - Telegraph

Liam Fox urged to restore pension to army hero's widow

FOX-LIAM-C&N "THE widow of a hero sergeant has been told to live off a corporal's pension - to save the nation £20 a week. Dated MoD regulations allow Sgt Matty Telford's pension to be slashed because he served in the rank for less than a year." - The Sun

The Sun Says: "The MoD has long been a nest of gin-swilling bunglers who have squandered millions while ignoring the needs of our Forces. This time they have gone too far. The Sun trusts that tough Defence Secretary Liam Fox will put this injustice right."

Hague courted fresh criticism yesterday after he used the ­internet to speak of rumours about his sexuality being “nailed” - Express

Nailed Benedict Brogan on Telegraph blogs: "Mr Hague has got the story going all over again by boasting he has nailed “a big lie”. Why did he do it? Maybe someone is tweeting for him, but the result is he starts to look as if he is struggling under pressure. Mr Cameron should fear for his colleague’s state of mind."

Vince Cable prepares the way for cuts to science funding

CableVince470 "Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to signal a squeeze on government funding for scientific research. He will urge universities to do "more for less" and say taxpayers should only back research that has a commercial use or was academically outstanding." - BBC

The Liberal Democrats have much to lose in next May's local elections

"The Lib Dems have plenty to lose – 2,337 seats to be precise, 112 more than Labour. Most of the seats up in 2011 will again be in "all-out" council elections where the stakes can be very high." - Guardian

In The Times (£) Alice Thomson argues that the Coalition is a disaster for the Liberal Democrats.

Two free school pioneers describe their hopes for the government's flagship education policy

"For all the critics of the free school policy, they have to admit that this policy will now give freedom to outstanding school leaders and teachers to set up new schools in socially deprived areas, with quality frameworks and strategies in place from the very outset. Our school will be in the city ward area of Bradford West, one of the most deprived areas of England. The attainment is low, and there are all sorts of social, cultural and economic issues. Free schools can target places like this, and create opportunities for children and young people so that they can have an excellent education whatever their background." - Sajid Hussain in The Guardian

"Sure Start – Labour’s flagship programme for increasing the life chances of children – must be protected from the spending cuts to come, Frank Field, the government’s poverty tsar, has warned." - FT (£)

Labour MPs to decide if they will continue to elect shadow cabinet

"The new Labour leader could be given new power to appoint a shadow cabinet in reforms Labour MPs will vote on tomorrow. In a vote that veteran parliamentarians fear will be swayed by new MPs who, according to one, "do not understand the importance of constraining the power of patronage", MPs will decide whether to end the practice of electing members of the shadow cabinet once a new leader is in place on 25 September." - Guardian

Diane Abbott: Tony Blair should stop trying to run the Labour party from ‘beyond the grave’ - Metro

Union boss Brendan Barber warns of poll tax revolt against public spending cuts

"Britons could revolt against the Coalition’s public spending cuts in the same way that many refused to pay the poll tax in the late 1980s, the leader of the country's unions has warned." - Telegraph

And finally...

"David Cameron cracks a joke about Wayne Rooney scoring as he collects a gong at an awards ceremony. He told the audience last night: "I have been at home with baby Florence watching the football and I'm pleased to say Rooney has scored on the pitch, in the opponent's goal, for his own team." - The Sun

> GQ Men of the Year

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7 Sep 2010 09:03:18

Weblinks for Tuesday 7th September 2010

5.30pm Parliament: Andrew Mitchell praises British people for £47m of donations to Pakistan Floods Appeal

2.45pm Lee Rotherham on CentreRight notes the extent to which EU taxpayers subsidise pro-EU think tanks

Noon ToryDiary: Three reasons why appointing Stephen Green as Trade Minister would be a bad idea

11am Robin Simcox on CentreRight urges us to maintain our sense of outrage at those who deny the truth about 9/11

ToryDiary: Damian Green promises "smart immigration policy" that ensures only the brightest and best students and workers enter Britain

Karl McCartney MP on Platform: People should not have to rely on their MP to prod the state to get them the support or services which they should be getting anyway

Griffin Nick 2 James Bethell on CentreRight: Sending Nick Griffin to jail would hand the BNP a lifeline

ThinkTankCentral: Britain will not be able to stop EU ministers ganging up to impose damaging new rules on City of London

Parliament: Ten Tory MPs vote against AV Referendum Bill

In his answers to ConservativeHome's Twenty Questions Aidan Burley explains why he is a Conservative: "I’m a Conservative because… I’m middle class and I think it’s about time politicians stood up for the dutiful tax-payers, the law abiders and those who aspire to a better life for themselves and their children. They are too often forgotten, yet they are middle Britain and they are the majority of Britain. Their concerns, needs and aspirations are just as important as those of the poor and those of the rich.”

Local government: More Labour fudging on localism

International: Australian Labor cling to power

Theresa May seeks new powers to prevent extradition of Britons like Gary McKinnon

MAY Theresa (blk jacket) "An independent review of agreements with the US and European nations is to be announced by Theresa May, the Home Secretary. It follows widespread concern that the current system is biased against Britain and follows cases including that of Gary McKinnon, the alleged hacker wanted by the American authorities. Under the review, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday, the Home Secretary’s hand could be strengthened and foreign authorities could be required to provide more evidence before British courts grant a request." - Telegraph

Downing Street defends UK's EU rebate from new threat

"Janusz Lewandowski, the EU budget commissioner, told German business newspaper Handelsblatt “the British rebate has lost its original justification”. He said the structure of the EU budget had “changed substantially”. The refund from Britain’s EU budget contributions is expected to be worth £3.2bn in 2010-11, but its significance is more than financial; some Tory MPs regard it as one of the totems of their Eurosceptic faith. Downing Street said: “We think the rebate continues to be justified. In the absence of the rebate, we would pay double what France pays and that would be unacceptable.”" - FT (£)

Tory former Cabinet minister John Redwood told the Daily Mail: "We have negotiated a sensible rebate in the past and we should be telling Brussels to keep its hands off. Instead of asking for more money the EU should be leading the way and cutting its own spending, which is less important and less desirable than core domestic spending on things like schools and hospitals."

NEWS OF THE WORLD Pressure is growing for a full judicial investigation into allegations of phone-tapping at the News of the World - Times (£)

"By appointing Mr Coulson [David Cameron] tarnished a pledge to bring integrity and transparency to No 10." - Philip Stephens in the FT (£)

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: On Andy Coulson, the BBC is dancing to Labour's tune

Lord Browne to recommend higher tuition fees

"Student debt is poised to rise to an average of £25,000 under funding proposals that favour higher tuition fees over a graduate tax. The expected recommendation from Lord Browne of Madingley would lead to undergraduates finishing their education with debts 25 per cent higher than the present £20,000 average." - Times (£)

Recruitment of HSBC's Stephen Green as Trade Minister would be "genuine coup" for David Cameron - Mark Kleinman on Sky

Polly Toynbee: Is the cut in number of MPs worth the hassle?

TOYNBEE-POLLY "In the coming months Cameron may wonder whether this fight was worth the candle. Cutting 50 seats, according to the independent Democratic Audit, would have lost Labour 25 seats, the Tories 13 and the Lib Dems 7. But it would not have tipped the balance enough to gain a Tory majority. There will be an almighty row over this – and the opponents will not just be Labour: there will be equally distraught protests from Tory and Lib Dem voters. Usually the Boundary Commissions plod along re-ordering constituency sizes with consultation on local sensitivities and a system of public appeals. Cameron is sweeping all that away. A strict numerical equality takes precedence over crossing every regional, county and even ward boundary. MPs may straddle two local authorities, may be half in a city and half in a county, crossing natural divides with no recognition of fierce local identity." - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Liberal Democrats lose four-tenths of their voters

"The Liberal Democrats have lost the support of almost four in 10 of the people who backed the party in May, according to an opinion poll for The Independent. More than one in five people who voted for Nick Clegg's party at the general election say they would now vote Labour, the ComRes poll shows. Only 62 per cent of those who voted Liberal Democrat would do so again were another election held today." - Independent

Tony Blair cancels book signing

BLAIR TONY serious "Tony Blair yesterday took a last-minute decision to cancel his key book signing in central London because of security fears, after unrest at a signing in Dublin saw the former prime minister pelted with eggs and shoes. Blair said he was cancelling the event, due to take place tomorrow at Waterstone's bookshop in Piccadilly, central London, "to avoid the inconvenience to the public it would have caused"." - Guardian

Times leader (£): "On the face of it, Mr Blair’s suggestion that he has no need to do the signing to promote the book and that he has chosen to avoid causing the police what he calls “a lot of hassle” seems reasonable enough. Actually, the policing required to ensure that a former prime minister can sign a book for someone who has bought a copy is a lot more than “hassle”. It is an important aspect of living in a free country that acts such as book signings are not prevented by the threat of violence."

Alex Salmond has emailed SNP members about his decision to shelve his plans for an independence referendum - Telegraph

Taxpayers urged to rebel against Inland Revenue's incompetent tax demands

"Around 1.4million Britons are being urged to stage an unprecedented revolt over plans to claw back up to £3.8billion in under-paid tax. It follows the botched introduction of a new computer system by the taxman which has left millions of bills in chaos. The first batch of 45,000 letters demanding cash to be repaid will start to arrive on Tuesday - with the rest sent out over the next four months. But accountants said recipients should act swiftly to use a little-known loophole which forces HM Revenue and Customs to abandon 'out of the blue' demands and effectively write off the money." - Daily Mail

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4 Sep 2010 08:58:31

Weblinks for Saturday 4th September 2010

9.30pm: WATCH

4.45pm: LeftWatch: The key to the future of Gordon Brown

1.15pm: WATCH

11.45am: In the first of a series of letters from Zimbabwe, Julia Manning writes on CentreRight: From Mpilo Hospital: "I can only guess and feel profoundly humbled at the depths of dedication and sacrifice displayed by the staff who are still here, trying to serve, wanting to heal."

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 06.17.49

ToryDiary: How blue is the Coalition? Part Five: the Environment, Local Government and Communities

Simon Maynard on Platform: Middle class benefits aren't just blown on wine any more - and that's the problem

Local Government:

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 06.43.10 Nadhim Zahawi MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010 - and reveals that he's "quite useful on a horse"

Melanchthon on CentreRight: Why Conservative MPs should vote next week against holding an AV referendum

WATCH: Nigel Farage explains why he wants to be UKIP's leader again

Tessa Jowell, Prescott, Alan Johnson, Tom Watson, Labour - and others - target Andy Coulson

The [Labour] figures spoke out as a former News of the World journalist quoted by the New York Times repeated his claim tonight that he had been ordered by the former editor to hack phones. Sean Hoare told BBC Radio 4's PM: "There is an expression called the culture of dark arts. You were given a remit: just get the story. Phone tapping hadn't just existed on the News of the World … I have gone on the record in the New York Times and said I have stood by Andy and been requested to tap phones, OK, or hack into them. He was well aware the practice existed. To deny it is simply a lie." - The Guardian

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 08.49.03 "Hackers illegally tapped a mobile phone belonging to Tessa Jowell at least 28 times while she was a serving cabinet minister, it emerged last night. Until now, Ms Jowell, the former Culture Secretary, has not spoken publicly about the phone-tapping scandal.  Further revelations yesterday placed pressure on Mr Coulson – and raised questions about Mr Cameron’s judgement in appointing him as Downing Street’s £140,000-a-year Director of Communications." - The Independent

David Cameron and aide facing Labour quiz over phone-hack investigations - Daily Express

Boris pledges extra buses and bike escorts as London Tube strike looms

"Johnson said contingency plans would include an extra 100 buses, escorted bike rides, marshalled taxi ranks and capacity for 10,000 extra journeys on the river Thames boats. Union leaders said they intended to go ahead with the strike after talks broke down yesterday... "Londoners are a hardy bunch and I am sure a tube strike will not deter us from getting around," Johnson said. "I have asked Transport for London to pull out all the stops, but we must be clear that the [unions] RMT and TSSA plan to inconvenience Londoners for no good reason." - The Guardian

Letwin and Maude to attend Liberal Democrat conference

"Mr Letwin and Mr Alexander were part of the negotiating teams that reached the Coalition agreement between the Conservatives and Lib Dems in May. They will appear together at each conference to discuss the Coalition programme and how it combines the agendas of their two parties. Mr Letwin is in charge of developing new government policies for Mr Cameron. Mr Alexander, a close adviser to Nick Clegg, wrote the Lib Dem election manifesto. Despite the gesture of co-operation, the visiting ministers will not speak from the main conference platforms at the meetings. Instead, they will appear at fringe events away from the main auditorium - Daily Telegraph

The Saturday commentators line up to attack, defend and explain William Hague

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 08.51.55 "But, I repeat, Mr Hague's sexuality was not relevant, and he was a fool to make it so by his statements. What matters now is the lack of judgment in the way this has been handled: a lack of judgment that calls into question whether he has the credibility to stay in his job...His own two statements gave the media an excuse, first, to crawl all over him and his special adviser, and then, second, to crawl all over his marriage." - Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

"But this is not a time for analysing the Hagues' marriage, nor for debating the wisdom of making public their struggle to have children. It is the time to recognise that William is one of the most brilliant politicians of his generation, a man with years of service behind him - and hopefully ahead of him. If Hague were driven from politics or chose to step aside, it would not just be a personal tragedy for him, but a tragedy for this country." - Amanda Platell, Daily Mail

"According to a colleague of Hague, he is "utterly heartbroken" at the situation in which he now finds himself. And that deeply upsets people who know him well. It even upsets those of us who knew him less well, including me, because in our eyes William was such a thoughtful and well-rounded character compared with his snake-like Tory rivals in OUCA and the Union...He enjoyed the company of hyperactive, passionately committed working-class lads – but not, I'm convinced, because he found them sexually attractive." - Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph

"Jonathan Baume, head of the FDA union of senior civil servants, said: "Where we start to have concerns is where you get people with political backgrounds being appointed to civil servant roles. That's when I start to get nervous." A Downing Street source insisted that Labour made similar appointments when it came to power and said the coalition government was more transparent than its predecessors. It emerged today that Downing Street failed to include the aide at the centre of the row over Hague's private life in an official list of special advisers published in June." - The Guardian

Nadine Dorries slams Sally Bercow over Hague - The Sun

Guardian claims only 20 Free Schools will open by next September

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 08.53.20 "Michael Gove, the education secretary, will next week be forced to announce a dramatic scaling back of the Tories' landmark plans to create a new generation of schools run by parents and voluntary groups. Labour tonight accused the education secretary of presiding over a "chaotic shambles" after it emerged that as few as 20 free schools are on track to open in September 2011. In June Gove hinted that 700 could be established." - Guardian

Councillor resignations mark growing LibDem revolt over Coalition

"Eight councillors in four areas have already resigned and the party's high command is braced for more resignations as the full impact of the public spending cuts becomes clearer. Town halls face a severe budget squeeze despite the Government's pledge to devolve power...The rebellion suggests that Mr Clegg could face a rough ride when his party holds its annual conference in Liverpool in two weeks." - The Independent

Windfall for taxpayer as Clegg sells house

"The deputy prime minister is selling his Sheffield home, months after saying that "every single penny" of profit made from it would go to the taxpayer. The asking price on the property, which Clegg purchased in 2005, has not been disclosed, but the purchaser is guaranteed a nice garden – Clegg claimed £1,440 expenses to revamp it in July 2007...Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, will instead rent in the Sheffield area, she added. His family are already based in London." - The Guardian

Caroline Lucas: the Green in beige who could be Nick Clegg's nemesis

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 08.55.02 "But in Mr Clegg’s disgrace perhaps, lies another possibility for the Greens. As Lib Dem voters fall away, they may turn to the Greens who share many pre-Coalition Lib Dem policies, on nuclear power, Trident and that overused empty word “fairness”. They could conceivably become the third party and, in homage to this possibility, more hacks than the usual one-and-a-half will be at their party conference next week. Miss Lucas certainly believes it. “It opens up a big space for us,” she says." - Tanya Gold, Daily Telegraph

David Cameron to revive Brown's business star chamber

"A group of around a dozen leaders have been asked to join the group including Sir Michael Rake, chairman of easyJet and BT; Justin King, chief executive of J Sainbury; Sir Martin Sorrell, the advertising boss of WPP Group; and Helen Alexander, president of the CBI. The advisory body will be less formal than Mr Brown's Business Council for Britain which was formed in one of his first moves when he became prime minister in 2007" - Daily Telegraph

Osborne's Star Chamber at the sharp end - BBC

The most scary thing of all?  Blair still wants to rule the world, says the man he sent to Washington - Sir Christopher Mayer, Daily Mail

Tax shambles hits six million - The Sun

Doctors go to court for inquest on David Kelly - The Times (£)

Mili-E, poster boy for geeks, aims to steer Labour on different journey - Anne Treneman in The Times (£)

Our covenant with Britain - David Miliband and Jon Cruddas in the Guardian

Whisper it, but Netanyahu may just be the man to make history - Donald Macintyre in The Independent

Screen shot 2010-09-04 at 06.55.46 Everywhere, photographs of Florence Rose Endellion Cameron...

>Yesterday on ToryDiary: As David and Samantha Cameron introduce baby Florence to the press, they thank the public for all their good wishes

And finally...David Cameron hires a fitness guru who trained the Saturdays and Naomi Campbell

"Matt Roberts, whose clients include Naomi Campbell, The Saturdays, Trudi Styler and Amanda Holden, was spotted putting the Prime Minister through his paces. He was timing Mr Cameron as he ran around St James's Park early yesterday morning, hours before presenting his new daughter Florence in Downing Street. Mr Roberts, 36, runs a fitness empire with four boutique gyms around London and is described as 'one of the world's leading personal trainers'.  He sees few clients himself these days and how much he is charging Mr Cameron is unknown.  But even an introductory rate with one of his regular trainers costs £80 and a package of 25 sessions is £1,650." - Daily Mail

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31 Aug 2010 08:58:02

Weblinks for Tuesday 31st August 2010

7.15pm J P Floru on CentreRight: Home ownership should not be rationed by the Bank of England

4pm ThinkTankCentral: Do you read the Adam Smith Institute's excellent blog?

Screen shot 2010-08-31 at 14.53.013pm WATCH: Nick Clegg says Afghanistan is "turning a corner" during visit to UK troops

1pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Some more detail on the outlook for interest rates and inflation

Noon Julia Manning on CentreRight: Do we need a history of the English-speaking woman?

HowBlue Paul Goodman begins a new series on ToryDiary: How blue is the coalition? Part one, the economy

Neil O'Brien on Platform: How to make housing more affordable for everyone

Ed_miliband_93943s LeftWatch: With Labour planning to protect middle class welfare payments like the Winter Fuel Allowance with higher taxes on banks and 'the rich', the issue of universal benefits could become a defining political issue of this parliament

Local government: Local councils are to be allowed to get rid of outdated by-laws without having to gain specific consent from Whitehall

Donal Blaney on CentreRight: Reflections on Glenn Beck's rally

In answering ConservativeHome's Twenty Questions John Glen, MP for Salisbury, says that Daily Mail headlines are a good predictor of the postbag he will receive...

WATCH: Boris celebrates the Notting Hill Carnival

George Osborne to cut Treasury staff numbers from 1,350 to 1,000 - Telegraph

Jeremy Hunt and Caroline Spelman get top marks from Treasury

Spelman Caroline Green "Caroline Spelman, environment secretary, may operate below the political radar most of the time, but the Treasury has marked her out as one of the stars of the public spending review, writes Jim Pickard. Officials have given glowing reports of Ms Spelman’s spending plans for being “bold and imaginative”, raising the prospect that she could be one of the first ministers to settle her four-year departmental budget. She has identified up to 30 Defra quangos for downsizing or the axe, including the Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution." - FT (£)

HUNT JEREMY OPEN NECKED SHIRT "Jeremy Hunt, culture secretary, may control only a £2bn budget, but the Treasury is hugely impressed with what he plans to do with it, writes George Parker. Mr Hunt, a former management consultant who set up his educational publishing business, has outlined cuts of 50 per cent in the run-ning of his department in an attempt to protect frontline funding of arts and sport. The proposed administra-tive cuts include a reduction in headcount of 400 staff and a further 100 once the 2012 Olympics are over. Mr Hunt’s aides say he was one of the first ministers to scrap official cars and end first-class travel. The Treasury is also impressed by his plans to move his department out of offices near Trafalgar Square with a view to sharing space with another Whitehall department, reducing an annual £10m rent bill." - FT (£)

Will the middle class taxpayers ever get relief?

"I am under no illusions that the Government is in a severe budgetary crisis which requires deep cuts and temporary tax rises. But Mr Alexander’s words have planted a horrible thought in me: that the Coalition is going to try to use the deficit as cover for a permanent shift of the tax burden onto middle income-earners. He is effectively telling those who earn more than £20,000 a year: it doesn’t matter how many cuts the public accept over the next five years nor how well the economy recovers – we won’t cut a penny off your tax bill." - Ross Clark in The Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Coalition must offer "light at the end of the tunnel" to taxpayers

Britain and France may share aircraft carriers

Screen shot 2010-08-31 at 07.56.16 "Britain and France are preparing to reveal unprecedented plans to share the use of their aircraft carriers in a controversial step to maintain military power in an era of cost-cutting... David Cameron and President Sarkozy are expected to outline the proposal in a November summit, which will lead to British and French flagships working together and protecting the interests of both countries." - Times (£)

Eric Pickles is 'the Tory hippo' in a hurry

"Whether it is abolishing the Audit Commission, sweeping away Labour’s regional housing targets, regional development agencies and home improvement packs, announcing the end of bin taxes (thus provoking a turf war with Caroline Spelman, environment secretary), or ordering his department and local councils to publish online details of spending over £500, few have taken to office with such relish as the communities and local government secretary. Last week he was at it again, urging councils to reduce street sign clutter and cutting red tape for street parties and fetes." - FT (£)

William Hague says Coalition foreign policy has a conscience

Hague on Sky Long "Foreign Office Ministers have been energetic in meeting human rights groups and NGOs, and in raising human rights. We have, among other things, spoken up for fair elections in Burma, pressed for access for humanitarian aid to Gaza, campaigned against forced marriage and lobbied the Government of Iran over death penalty cases, women's rights and religious freedom." - William Hague in The Telegraph

Denis MacShane condemns UK 'opt out' from EU directive against sex trafficking - Guardian

David Miliband disowns Mandelson's intervention

MILIBAND DAVID C4 "David Miliband moved last night to avoid the grave threat of being portrayed as the heir to Tony Blair when he slapped down Lord Mandelson hours after the former business secretary endorsed his campaign for the Labour leadership... In a pointed statement, he said: "Party members, including me, are sick and tired of the old battles of the past being rerun. It's time to move on."" - Guardian

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Mandelson, Campbell and Blair all warn Labour against 'Red Ed'

Blair prepares to trash Brown in first major TV interview since he quit as PM - Daily Mail

"Tony Blair will re-ignite his feud with Gordon Brown by blaming him for Labour losing the election... Sources have revealed Mr Blair's autobiography, published tomorrow, is expected to include a vicious attack on Mr Brown's record as PM." - The Sun

Ed Balls calls for £6bn from deficit reduction to be diverted into construction of 100,000 affordable homes - Guardian

Matt Ridley: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) must be purged

Screen shot 2010-08-31 at 08.14.27 Express story accompanying front page.

"IPCC reports are supposed to be the gold standard account of what is — and is not — known about global warming. The panel boasts that it uses only peer-reviewed scientific literature. But its claims about mountain ice turned out to be anecdotes from a climbing magazine, its claims on the Amazon’s vulnerability to drought from a Brazilian pressure group’s website and 42 per cent of the references in one chapter proved to be to reports by Greenpeace, WWF and other “grey” literature." - Matt Ridley in The Times (£)

"UN climate change experts have been accused of making 'imprecise and vague' statements and over-egging the evidence. A scathing report into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for it to avoid politics and stick instead to predictions based on solid science." - Daily Mail

Bjørn Lomborg, the self-styled "sceptical environmentalist, recommends $100m technology fund to address climate change - Guardian

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