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June 2011 newslinks

30 Jun 2011 08:56:10

Newslinks for Thursday 30th June 2011

Screen shot 2011-06-30 at 23.11.16 11.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband robotically repeating same message to interviewer about public sector strikes

6.30pm WATCH: Alan Duncan observes how UK aid is being spent in Bangladesh

5pm Parliament: Lord Howell defends the Government as Labour Europhiles complain that the European flag was not flown from official buildings on Europe Day

4pm Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: Cheques remain a vital method of payment and the banks need to clarify their plans for them

Picture 192.30pm Michael Gove thanks teachers who are working today and expresses sympathy with those who have been inconvenienced

12.45pm ToryDiary: Another Buckinghamshire Conservative Association put its money where its mouth is on High Speed Rail

12pm ConHome USA: Today's Republican and American political news

11.30am Parliament: Cheryl Gillan bats away an inquiry at Welsh Questions about the prospect of her resigning over High Speed Rail

Picture 1611am WATCH: Francis Maude tells BBC Breakfast this morning that today's strikes are "unjustifiable", not least because talks on public sector pensions are still ongoing

10.15am LeftWatch: Labour peer blames overspending under Labour for the recession

ToryDiary: The three MPs from the Tory margins at the centre of the Commons

Michael Burnett on Comment: Ensuring a Scottish independence referendum is defeated will mean English politicians staying out of the fray

Also on Comment, Niki Molnar: Conservatives can set about winning back women’s votes without the dramatics of certain female Fleet Street columnists

Parliament: Concerns are raised by Tory MPs about cuts to legal aid as Ken Clarke's justice bill gets its Second Reading

LabourWorst
Local Government: Conservative councils best for Council Tax collection rates - Labour ones worst 

Also in Local Government:

Milibands
LeftWatch: One quarter of voters look at a photo of Ed Miliband and think it's David Miliband...

Arianna Capuani in International: Lessons in Localism from Lombardy

Public sector workers start strike over pensions

OnStrike "The coalition government faces the first industrial uprising against its austerity measures today as up to 750,000 public servants strike over planned changes to their pensions. A third of schools are expected to close and two-thirds of universities have cancelled lectures. Benefits will go unpaid, court cases will be postponed, police leave has been cancelled in London and airports are bracing themselves for backlogs at immigration." - The Guardian

"Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is leading talks with the unions, vowed Britain ‘will not buckle’ in the face of industrial action and insisted the country’s ‘Dunkirk spirit’ would keep many schools and other services running. ‘I urge public sector workers to go to work today,’ Mr Maude said." - Daily Mail

"David Cameron last night urged parents to take their children to work to help minimise the impact of today’s national teaching strike." - Daily Express

  • Schools told to get set for months of strike action - The Times (£)
  • Pressure grows for MPs to share pensions pain - The Independent
  • Private sector staff must put in a third of their pay to match state worker benefits - Daily Mail
  • Strikers should heed the lessons of Greece - Telegraph editorial
  • Mark Serwotka: Why public sector strike deserves your support - The Guardian

> Yesterday on ConHome:

David Cameron under pressure to veto EU's demand for an inflation-busting budget increase

EU-FLAG "David Cameron is facing pressure to veto the latest ‘ludicrous’ cash demand from Brussels after it  announced plans to slap three new taxes on Britain. The European Commission yesterday revealed budget demands which would cost UK taxpayers £10billion... A senior government official described the EU demands as ‘ludicrous’. And a Treasury spokesman said: ‘The commission’s proposal is completely unrealistic." - Daily Mail

  • Cameron has faith in EU, says No 10 - FT (£)

> Yesterday on ConHome: Martin Callanan MEP suggests David Cameron might need Margaret Thatcher's handbag for the EU budget negotiations

...as Cabinet ministers and Downing Street aides privately speak of leaving the EU

"Two Cabinet ministers are reported to have been persuaded that the UK would be better off by cutting its links with Brussels. And Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin, the PM’s policy guru, is also said to have swung behind growing Tory support for withdrawal... Last week it was reported that Mr Cameron’s strategy chief Steve Hilton also wants the UK to pull out. The latest reports of Government unease are revealed in today’s edition of the Spectator magazine." - Daily Express 

Theresa May considers emergency legislation over bail court ruling

Theresa May Home Secretary "Senior police officers will meet the home secretary later to discuss how to respond to a court ruling restricting the use of bail in England and Wales. Theresa May is considering emergency legislation following a High Court ruling that suspects can be freed on police bail for no more than four days... Mrs May has expressed "great concern" over the ruling's effect on policing." - BBC

Ken Clarke seeks to clarify existing laws about rights to defend propert

 "Last week the Justice Secretary said he would "bring forward legislation to clarify the law on self-defence". But yersterday he promised instead to try to make existing legislation clearer. He said: "If an old lady finds she's got an 18-year-old burglar in her house, picks up a kitchen knife and sticks it in him, she has not committed a criminal offence. We'll make it quite clear you can hit the burglar with a poker if he's in the house and have a perfect defence when you do so." - The Sun

  • Reoffending rates among ex-prisoners are a "national scandal", says Clarke - BBC

Michael Gove: How Asia can teach us a lesson on maths, which should be studied every day

Michael Gove 2010 "Maths teaching in schools should be overhauled, with the introduction of Asian-style daily teaching and a focus on fundamentals, the Education Secretary has suggested. Michael Gove has signalled a return to academic rigour in the maths curriculum amid concerns that the UK is lagging behind other countries." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: While striking teaching unions want to take Britain back to the 1970s, Gove plots a path to 21st century survival

Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie questions Government's bank ring-fencing plans - Daily Telegraph

Allegra Stratton: Backbench mutterings grow as David Cameron loses appetite for reforms

"The new generation feel that the Diet-Coke Tories are doing what they have to do get through the politics of now, and despite Cameron's exhortions, reform for them is a sepia-tinted image from ten years ago. They fear that Cameron, stung by criticism that he was doing too much, has over-corrected and has now done all the reforming he plans to do. In contrast, the new intake are preoccupied with ideas for five, 10 and 20 years time." - Allegra Stratton in The Guardian

Tories out for vengeance as Speaker slaps down the PM

Speaker Bercow 2010 "Senior Tories vowed ‘revenge’ on Commons Speaker John Bercow yesterday after he slapped down David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions. Tory MPs said they would push through plans to ensure the Speaker has to face a vote on his future, scuppering his quest for two terms." - Daily Mail

"Mr Cameron was furious. He sat down with exaggerated slowness and shook his head. For a moment his demeanour recalled that of Mr Darcy, in Pride and Prejudice, when confronted by behaviour of unspeakable oikishness." - Andrew Gimson's sketch in the Daily Telegraph

  • Downing Street plays down John Bercow spat - BBC

Europe breathes easier as Greece agrees austerity package

"The Greek Parliament has passed a crucial package of austerity measures that will allow it to claim a €12 billion (£10.7 billion) bailout and avoid defaulting on its debts for a little longer. George Papandreou’s five-year austerity plan was carried by 155 votes to 138 in a dramatic afternoon vote." - The Times (£)

> WATCH: Greek Parliament passes austerity bill amidst violence in the streets outside

Con Coughlin: It’s time for Britain to merge its Army, Navy and Air Force

Picture 9 "The bitter rivalries that erupted during last year’s defence review undoubtedly had a detrimental effect on its outcome. Merging the Armed Forces into a single entity would not only put a stop to such counter-productive squabbling, it would provide us with the lean, mean fighting machine we will undoubtedly need to protect us against the many dangers that lie ahead. Our senior officers put self-interest above the national interest – and that is a luxury this nation can no longer afford." - Con Coughlin in the Daily Telegraph

Our leaders could learn so much from Reagan's appeal to the common man - Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Voting takes place today at the Inverclyde by-election - Sky News
  • BSkyB takeover to get go-ahead - Daily Mirror
  • English students face £36,000 university fees in Scotland - The Times (£)
  • Treasury unveils tax avoidance reforms - FT (£)

And finally... Why was it generous of George Osborne to stay at the Commons until the end of PMQs yesterday?

"Osborne had tickets for the tennis, you see, in the Royal Box no less, and play started at 1pm. But the Chancellor couldn't leave his best friend and boss without a bit of support for the big match of the day in the Commons, so he had to miss the beginning of the tennis." - The Independent

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29 Jun 2011 09:00:37

Newslinks for Wednesday 29th June 2011

10pm LeftWatch: One quarter of voters look at a photo of Ed Miliband and think it's David Miliband...

EU-FLAG9pm European Parliament update: European Commission confirms it wants a 5% increase in the EU budget updated at 9.45pm with reaction from Downing Street

8pm WATCH: A video from the Charles Koch Foundation illustrating How your quality of life is directly linked to your economic freedom

6pm Parliament: Andrew Stephenson calls for prosecutions to be able to appeal against judges' decisions to grant bail

5pm WATCH: Greek Parliament passes austerity bill amidst violence in the streets outside

4.45pm European Parliament: Martin Callanan suggests David Cameron might need Margaret Thatcher's handbag for the EU budget negotiations

2.45pm LeftWatch: Labour's Welsh First Minister says his ministers won't be crossing picket lines tomorrow

2pm ToryDiary update: CCHQ rebuts Ed Miliband's key claims from PMQs

1.45pm WATCH: David Cameron's final exchange with Ed Miliband at PMQs at which he accuses Labour of being "in the pocket of the unions"

Picture 2112.45pm ToryDiary: Ed Miliband asks "micro" questions on health as David Cameron accuses him of ducking the big issue of the strikes

Noon ConHome USA: Today's Republican and American political news

11.45am LISTEN: Justice Secretary Ken Clarke defends his sentencing policies on the Today programme

11.30am Eric Ollerenshaw MP on Comment: The north of England declined under Labour - but the Government is well-placed to close the north-south divide

11am ToryDiary: While striking teaching unions want to take Britain back to the 1970s, Gove plots a path to 21st century survival

10.15am ThinkTankCentral: Reform research shows that the Government's good work on deficit reduction will be undone by the effects of the demographic timebomb

ToryDiary: The ten year old article that's shaping the Government's NHS policy

Javid
Sajid Javid MP on Comment: Let's cap the national debt

Also on Comment, Philip Davies MP: Sadly, Ken Clarke's reforms will catapult more criminals on to the streets, to commit more crimes

Local Government:

Parliament: Fifteen Tory MPs back rebel amendment to recognise marriage in the tax system

ThinkTankCentral:

WATCH: Christine Lagarde is named as new managing director of the IMF

David Cameron tells public sector workers they are wrong to strike over 'essential' pensions reform...

"The Government's controversial plans to reform public sector pensions are "fair", the Prime Minister has insisted. David Cameron said the changes being proposed for millions of public sector workers were a "good deal", which would secure affordable pensions for decades to come. He spoke out as the scale of disruption caused by Thursday's 24-hour walkout by members of four unions became clear, with thousands of schools, jobcentres, tax offices and courts set to be closed or badly disrupted." - Daily Telegraph

"The Labour leader Ed Miliband joined David Cameron in urging trade unions not to press ahead with tomorrow's mass strike, as the scale of the disruption from the walk-out became clear." - The Independent

"More Brits oppose tomorrow's teachers strike than back it, an exclusive poll for The Sun last night revealed. The YouGov survey found 49 per cent were against the union action, while 40 per cent supported it." - The Sun

...as Gove warns of tougher rule for teachers as strike goes ahead

Michael Gove 2011 "Teachers planning to strike could be forced to tell their heads under a shake-up signalled by Michael Gove yesterday. The Education Secretary issued the veiled threat with as many as 15,000 schools — two thirds — at risk of shutting in a strike tomorrow... Currently, teachers do not have to inform their heads of their intentions. Mr Gove, answering an urgent question in the Commons, twice said that such rules would be reviewed. " - The Times (£)

Further strike coverage

  • Public sentiment can switch sides during strikes. The Government could find itself fighting for survival - Daniel Finkelstein in The TImes (£)
  • Teachers' unions betray staff, pupils and British education - Katharine Birbalsingh in the Daily Mail
  • Why aren’t the trade unions paying the salaries of their own full-time representatives? - Telegraph editorial
  • Cameron accused of deliberately winding up workers before strike - Daily Mirror
  • Strike threatens holiday chaos - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's coverage on ConHome:

Kenneth Clarke faces twin-track assault on jail reform plans

Ken Clarke 2011 "The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, faces another embarrassing U-turn over his controversial sentencing reforms today as the Labour frontbench combines with rightwing Tory MPs to further attack his prison plans. Tory backbenchers and Labour spokesmen served notice on Tuesday night that they would fight Clarke's plans to limit the use of remand in custody and tackle the explosion in the use of indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs)." - The Guardian

  • Legal aid reforms will hit the most vulnerable hardest, warns top judge - The Independent

Human rights law prevents the UK from deporting dangerous criminals

"Immigrants who are “undesirable” or “dangerous” cannot be deported if they may face ill-treatment at home — however bad their crimes in Britain, human rights judges ruled. In a test case, with more than 200 similar actions pending against Britain, the Strasbourg judges decreed that the UK’s duty to protect people against torture or inhuman treatment is “absolute”. - The Times (£)

"The pathetic truth is that we do not have control over our borders, and these cases quite clearly show that we do not control not only who comes in to the country but who we choose to remove. My constituents do not want any more mealy-mouthed promises about getting a grip on this – they want to know what the Government is actually going to do." - Tory MP Douglas Carswell quoted in the Daily Mail

  • Human rights court is no friend to the law-abiding - Express editorial

Brussels demands an extra £2 billion a year from the UK in 'outrageous' 12 per cent rise...

EU-FLAG "Eurocrats are about to demand an ‘outrageous’ budget increase of up to 12 per cent – three times the rate of inflation. This means Britain’s contribution to running the EU – already £15.3billion a year – will rise by another £2billion. The budget, being finalised by the European Commission, is a clear rebuff to David Cameron’s calls for belt-tightening in Brussels." - Daily Mail

...as David Cameron vows to lead fight against Brussels' plan for new 'EU tax'

"The European Commission is to propose a new EU-wide tax to enable it to boost its spending even though many national governments are imposing cuts to reduce their deficits. Britain will lead the opposition to the planned tax, with David Cameron warning that the Commission must "cut its cloth" in the same way member states are doing. He wants a freeze in EU spending. - The Independent

Benedict Brogan: David Cameron and the Conservatives are on a collision course over Europe

Benedict Brogan "Conservative MPs rejoice in a leadership team of Mr Cameron, George Osborne and William Hague that is unequivocally sceptical about the EU. But they are unlikely to be satisfied with hard-won but modest successes that over time tilt the EU towards being more competitive, less costly, and less ambitious. At some point they might realise that the Prime Minister has no appetite for attempting the renegotiation he promised, and which the Coalition usefully prevents him from considering." - Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

David Cameron's new man in Brussels approved cut in Britain's EU rebate - The Guardian

David Willetts opens up the market for student places

"Universities will compete against each other for a quarter of the students they recruit next year under government reforms unveiled on Tuesday, putting pressure on institutions to bring down fees." - The Guardian

"The new requirements devised by David Willetts should give students the information they need to make sensible decisions" - Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Tory donors in funding threat over HS2

"Several Conservative donors have warned the prime minister that they will withdraw funding from the party if the coalition presses ahead with its plans for a high-speed rail link, it emerged on Tuesday. David Begg, director of the Campaign for High-Speed Rail, admitted that the project was “not a done deal by any means”, given the voluble resistance from some Tories living near the proposed route." - FT (£)

Climate change arguments incite 'weird religiosity', says Greg Barker

"Hardliners on opposing sides in the battle over climate change are guilty of a weird "religiosity" which hinders a sensible debate, energy minister Greg Barker has said." - The Guardian

Hague under fire for allowing Tory whip to meet Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in bizarre diplomatic mission

NEWMARK-BROOKS "Foreign Secretary William Hague was under fire last night after it emerged that he let a junior Tory launch a bizarre private diplomatic mission to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Tory whip Brooks Newmark sparked a diplomatic storm when it emerged that he spent three hours on Sunday with the tyrant who has been blamed for authorising the deaths of hundreds of pro-democracy protesters." - Daily Mail

Greece faces ‘suicide’ vote on austerity

"Greece will be committing “suicide” if its parliament fails to back sweeping austerity measures aimed at averting a catastrophic default, according to the head of the country’s central bank." - FT (£)

  • Greek protests against austerity package turn violent - BBC

Sandra Parsons: We women are falling out of love with Dave - Daily Mail

> Sunday's ToryDiary: The Conservatives are losing female supporters. Why?

News in brief

  • Boris to keep a closer eye on City Hall staff -  FT (£)
  • Government considers plan to strip charities providing abortions of their ability to counsel women too - The Guardian
  • Christine Lagarde's appointment at the IMF is a diplomatic victory for George Osborne - James Forsyth of The Spectator
  • Poll suggests many Tory and Lib Dem councillors are opposed to housing benefit cuts - BBC
  • Burglaries rise fast as economy goes slow - The Times (£)
  • Austerity engulfs the high street - The Guardian

And finally... Labour MP in intern hypocrisy row

"A Labour MP who has campaigned against low wages was yesterday branded a hypocrite after advertising for an unpaid researcher. Lyn Brown is seeking a “voluntary Westminster worker” to help with constituency and research duties. The West Ham MP has been at the forefront of a campaign for a living wage of £8.30 an hour for workers in London." - Daily Mirror

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28 Jun 2011 09:00:13

Newslinks for Tuesday 28th June 2011

8.15pm WATCH: David Cameron says to those considering striking that such action would be wrong for them and the people they serve

7.45pm ToryDiary: David Cameron sets out the three central arguments in the public sector pensions debate

Lords chamber7.30pm Parliament: Tory MPs voiced their scepticism about an elected second chamber during yesterday's debate in the Commons

6pm Ben Howlett on Comment: Conservative Future welcomes today's Higher Education reforms which will make universities more accountable and transparent

4.30pm David Willetts MP on Comment: How this Government is putting students at the heart of our university system

4.15pm Local government: Prime Minister's speech to the Local Government Association conference

2.45pm Parliament: Which former Foreign Secretary got slapped down by David Cameron yesterday for declaring a Greek default to be "inevitable"?

Ruth Porter1.15pm Ruth Porter on Comment: Teachers should be passing knowledge to the next generation - not the cost of their unreformed pensions

12.15pm LISTEN: Justice ministerJonathan Djanogly on the compensation culture: The insurance system currently "gives a perverse incentive for people to ramp up their claims"

12pm ConHome USA: Today's Republican and American political news

11.30am After the leaking of the Christopher Shale memo, Paul Goodman on ToryDiary suggests: How to boost party membership: "If the leadership really wants to increase membership, it will have to take some risks. These should include: the right of local parties to select their Parliamentary candidates - with no repetition of the imposition of shortlists."

Picture 1811am Parliament: Conor Burns castigates "disgraceful" Lord Heseltine for a decade of silence in the House of Lords

10.15am Parliament: Two Conservatives among the six candidates to be the next Speaker of the House of Lords

ToryDiary: Tory MPs, Fleet Street and TaxPayers' Alliance launch pre-emptive strike on trade unions ahead of "summer of discontent"

MartinParsons
Martin Parsons on Comment: Why I will NOT be joining the teachers' strike on Thursday

LeftWatch: 37 fat cat trade union leaders earn more than £100,000

WATCH: Talks aimed at averting Thursday's public sector strikes collapse

Also ToryDiary: ConHome's latest monthly survey is online

Also on Comment, Lord Risby: Universal Jurisdiction is being abused, so its operation must be changed in order to stop it being exploited for political purposes

Local Government: Red tape cut planned to reduce number of empty shops

Parliament: House of Lords approves proposal to allow peers to retire "with honour and dignity" from the Upper House

European Parliament: The six Tory MEPs first elected in 2009 reflect on their first two years in Brussels

Cameron to urge rethink on strikes

David Cameron speaking 2010 "David Cameron is to call on public sector unions to halt planned industrial action and accept that their pension packages are unsustainable and must be reformed. The Prime Minister will insist the present arrangements are "not fair to the taxpayer" two days before a mass walkout of teachers, lecturers and civil servants. The Government is finalising contingency plans to deal with the biggest outbreak of industrial action since the coalition was formed, with up to 750,000 workers set to stage a 24-hour walkout on Thursday." - Press Association

"Teaching unions have been accused of bullying head teachers into shutting their schools during this week’s national strike as it emerged that nine in ten will close in some areas." - Daily Telegraph

"Schools don't exist for teachers; and while in a free society workers are entitled to withdraw their labour, this does not have to mean that classrooms shut. Heads, governors and parents should be entitled to observe a moral duty to children that the NUT has clearly forgotten." - Telegraph editorial

  • Public sector pensions: An issue that can no longer be avoided - Steve Richards in The Independent

Today's Higher Education White Paper to propose more competition between universities and expose courses with poor employment prospects

"A planned shake-up of higher education in England is being set out later, with the aim of creating more competition and giving students greater powers. Universities could compete for places, including with the private sector, and be held accountable for the quality of their teaching. A White Paper is promising to ensure "students get their money's worth" as they face paying higher tuition fees." - BBC

Willetts D DP "University courses with a poor track record of employment will be "named and shamed" under government proposals to give students a clearer choice of degree and curb the costs of tuition fee loans. In a higher education white paper, ministers will ask for the publication of detailed information about the employment and earning outcomes of specific degrees. David Willetts, the universities minister, believes too many courses are not valued by employers." - The Guardian

Tory backbenchers call for recognition of marriage in tax system...

"Backbenchers have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill that would allow spouses who do not work to transfer their unused personal allowance to a working partner, cutting their tax bill. The amendment could be debated in the Commons as soon as today. The move will put pressure on David Cameron to deliver on a Conservative manifesto pledge to introduce the measure. So far, 10 Conservative MPs have backed the amendment, which was tabled by Fiona Bruce, the MP for Congleton." - Daily Telegraph

...as Labour table amendment seeking a VAT cut 

"Labour is to call on Chancellor George Osborne to make an emergency VAT cut as MPs brace themselves for a late Commons sitting... Shadow treasury minister David Hanson said Labour had tabled an amendment to the legislation calling for a temporary VAT cut to "get the stalled economy moving again". - Press Association

Office for Tax Simplification considering how to simplify pensioners' taxes - FT (£)

UK will be forced to double its IMF payment to £20billion... and guess where the money is going?

Picture 17 "Britain will be forced to pour extra billions into propping up the Greek economy 'by the back door' through a massively increased contribution to the International Monetary Fund, senior Tories warned yesterday. Because of an agreement signed under Labour, the UK is about to double its IMF payment from just over £10billion a year to almost £20billion, a significant proportion of which will be used to service Greek debt." - Daily Mail

  • 48-hour general strike underway in Greece - BBC

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Britain's growing commitment to the Greek bailout

Christopher Shale had No 10 backing for party membership plan

"No 10 and Conservative headquarters had been deeply involved and supported the radical plans to transform Tory party membership drawn up by Christopher Shale and leaked hours before he died in unexplained circumstances at the Glastonbury festival." - The Guardian

"I am told that Stephen Gilbert, the political secretary at No 10, and Andrew Feldman, co-chairman of the Tory party, had helped him with his memo." - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

> WATCH: David Cameron and Ed Miliband pay tribute to Christopher Shale 

William Hague hails Gaddafi arrest warrant

"An international arrest warrant was issued against Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi yesterday... Foreign Secretary William Hague said it showed he had 'lost all legitimacy'. He insisted the move should act as a warning to Gaddafi's circle that they would be held to account for crimes against civilians." - Daily Mail

Liam Fox reprimands commanders on Libya...

Liam Fox on Politics Show "Liam Fox yesterday claimed that concerns about the Libyan mission expressed by "off message" military commanders were putting lives at risk... He said: "We must be very careful, those of us who have authority in defence, when discussing the sustainability of a mission." - The Independent

...as his plans for a joint forces command at the MoD win approval

"This will start to blur the boundaries between services, though ministers should not underestimate the institutional resistance they will face. But in an age where flexibility and swiftness of response are paramount, traditional service rivalries look anachronistic. Dr Fox is to be applauded for challenging his department so boldly, but he knows he has a fight on his hands. It is one he must win." - Telegraph editorial

"The reforms at the heart of Monday's statement – reduction in the numbers of commanders, better co-ordination through a slimmed-down decision-making structure, and service accountability for spending decisions – all make eminent sense... But, as the Libya arguments have shown, these good intentions struggle to survive big new commitments or shocks." - Guardian editorial

Chinese Premier Wen rails at Cameron's criticism

Picture 16 "Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, has sharply rebuked the UK government of David Cameron over its criticisms of China’s lack of human rights, warning that the London should stop its “finger-pointing” at Beijing. Amid growing signs of anger in the Chinese leadership at the emphasis Mr Cameron has been putting on the need for greater political freedoms in China, Mr Wen indicated that the UK should cease ”lecturing” Beijng over the issue." - FT (£)

"People’s democracy is the soul of socialism. Without democracy, there is no socialism. Without freedom, there is no real democracy. Without a guarantee of economic and political rights, there is no real freedom." - Wen Jiabao writing in the Daily Telegraph

> WATCH: David Cameron announces £1.4billion trade deal with China

Lib Dem President Tim Farron orders investigation into AV referendum defeat

"The Liberal Democrats have launched an official inquiry into the disastrous Yes to AV campaign, examining how money was misspent, staff demoralised and political capital misplaced in what campaign staff have described as a "living nightmare". - The Guardian

> Earlier this month on LeftWatch: Lib Dem recriminations continue over defeat in the AV referendum

Richard Littlejohn rages at the EU's latest cross-border regionalisation plan

Picture 14 "As a general rule of thumb, I always assume that anything dismissed by the EU as a 'myth' is almost certainly true... So perhaps Brussels would care to explain away the latest evidence, uncovered by local government secretary Eric Pickles, about the amount of money being spent on promoting the 'Arc Manche' project. This is the precise scheme, which would amalgamate vast swathes of both countries from Normandy to Land's End, that official EU spokesmen insist doesn't exist." - Daily Mail

Other Comment

  • The EU must step forward toward fiscal and political union - Lord Mandelson in the FT (£)
  • The way to save the NHS: close hospitals - Philip Stephens in the FT (£)
  • In praise of... senior backbenchers - The Guardian

News in brief

  • Watchdog to audit political appointments to the civil service - The Guardian
  • Government grants funds for two wave power projects - Reuters
  • Log jam over London sparks airport capacity crisis - The Times (£)
  • Bank chief warns of wave of home repossessions if rates rise - The Guardian
  • Fatcat bags new quango job months after £250,000 payout from council - Daily Mail
  • Poll strengthens Lagarde’s case to lead the IMF - The Times (£)

And finally... Margaret Thatcher's Asprey handbag raises 'just' £25,000

Picture 10 "A handbag once owned by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has raised £25,000 at a charity auction. The Asprey handbag had been expected to attract up to £100,000 during sales at Christie's organised by ex-Conservative Party deputy chairman Jeffrey Archer. Baroness Thatcher was famously pictured with the bag as she stood with then US President Ronald Reagan in 1985." - BBC

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27 Jun 2011 08:59:16

Newslinks for Monday 27th June 2011

10.30pm WATCH: Cameron tells Commons that a very big part of his life involves "giving pleasure to Mrs [Peter] Bone"

10.15pm WATCH: David Cameron and Ed Miliband pay tribute to Christopher Shale

5.15pm Local government: Before London councils cut services they should consider collecting some of the £500 million of unpaid council taxes

Eustice
3pm George Eustice MP on Comment: It should become a key objective of British foreign policy to break the power of centralised European institutions like the European Court of Justice

2.45pm Local government: Livingstone's pitch for second preferences from Lib Dem "venal sub-species"

2pm Simon Reevell MP on Comment: High Speed Rail is about demonstrating that the whole UK is open for business

CameronChinaPresser12.45pm WATCH: David Cameron announces £1.4billion trade deal with China 

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's Republican and American political news

11am Mark Field MP on Comment: Making the case for overseas aid

10.30am WATCH: Liam Fox: "We have the political and moral resolve to continue to protect the population of Libya"

ToryDiary: What is Eric Pickles's plan to counter extremism? Thirty questions arising from the Prevent Review

ToryDiary: Britain's growing commitment to the Greek bailout

Matthew Hancock MP on Comment: Labour's Ed Balls still thinks you can borrow your way out of debt

WindCowie

ThinkTankCentral: Max Wind-Cowie of Demos: British Muslims are being misrepresented by a leadership that is more extreme and less tolerant than the vast majority of their number

Local Government: 

David Cameron's friend Christopher Shale dies at Glastonbury after Downing Street call

6a00d83451b31c69e2014e8966033d970d-150wi"Initially it was reported that the chairman of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association had killed himself after the festival organiser, Michael Eavis, told journalists that it was a “suicide situation”. But friends and police sources rejected the suggestion, saying that he had a “massive heart attack”. Somerset Police have confirmed that the death is not being treated as suspicious. Last night, Mr Cameron said he was “devastated” by the death of Mr Shale, who was the Conservative Party chairman in the Prime Minister’s constituency." - Daily Telegraph

  • "It has emerged that two Downing Street officials tried to reach Shale around lunchtime on Saturday to warn him about the note, in which he described parts of his local party as crass and grasping and said that it offered people no reason to join, had been passed to the Mail on Sunday. One official contacted him by text just after 12.30pm to advise him not to speak to reporters; another suggested he get in touch with Conservative headquarters." - The Guardian

> Yesterday's Gazette: David Cameron statement on death of West Oxfordshire Conservative Chairman Christopher Shale 

Liam Fox will announce the creation of a new joint command for the Army, Navy and RAF

Fox at NATO"The report by the Defence Reform Unit, a body of experts from private industry and senior, internal officials, will also propose putting Dr Fox at the head of the MoD’s most senior decision-making panel. In a humiliating loss of power, the heads of the three Services as well as the second highest officer in the Armed Forces will lose their places on the Defence Board." - The Times (£)

  • MoD top brass to be slimmed down in defence shake-up - BBC
  • "Our review was overdue. Change is fundamental" - Lord Levene writing in the Times (£)

Michael Gove's call for parents to break strike provokes union fury

Gove pointing "Teaching unions reacted with anger after the education secretary accused them of risking their members' professional reputations by taking "militant" strike action and suggested that parents could volunteer to break the strike and keep schools open on Thursday." - The Guardian

"Leaders of teachers' unions stuck defiantly to their strike call yesterday despite intense pressure from the Government to call off an action that will close 40 per cent of the country's schools on Thursday and disrupt others. The Government's anxiety to see the action called off betrays uncertainty over who will get the blame as the public is inconvenienced by industrial action, either because they cannot send their children to school, or because of the closure of government offices hit by a civil servants' strike." - The Independent

  • "Union activists urging teachers to close England’s schools are paid more than £15million a year by cash-strapped councils, it has emerged. One eighth of teachers – more than 100,000 – are to walk out of schools on Thursday in a row over changes to their pensions. It will be the first national strike in 25 years." - Daily Mail
  • Gove's collision course with teachers spells trouble for all - Jackie Ashley in the Guardian
  • Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has risked inflaming Coalition tensions by insisting the Government is not looking at tougher labour laws to limit strikes - Daily Telegraph
  • 'I'll end culture of re-sits and toughen up GCSEs': Gove vows to bring back REAL exams - Daily Mail
  • Bright students to get £20,000 to train as teachers - Daily Telegraph
  • Top marks for Michael Gove's teacher training plans - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • Teachers have a duty of care to their pupils and that is why they should never go on strike - Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
  • Youngsters' 'widespread misunderstanding' of university tuition fees means many don't know how they will pay for higher education - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Michael Gove warns teachers they risk weakening their reputation by going on strike next week

Plan to let criminals dodge jail for two years angers Tory MPs

CLARKE KEN ON ITN"Criminals given suspended jail sentences will escape prison for up to two years as part of new ‘soft’ criminal justice plans. (...) However, as a result of the new revelations some MPs are thought to be considering rebelling against the Government. There is also opposition to plans to reduce the use of remand for those charged with crimes for which they are unlikely to receive a jail term. Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘Ken Clarke is championing it as a “tough on crime” Bill when the detail shows it is not.’" - Daily Mail

David Cameron to meet China's Wen Jiabao for business summit

CameronOnMarr2008"David Cameron and the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will meet for an Anglo-Chinese summit at Downing Street designed to seal £1bn worth of bilateral contracts, including a raft of deals aimed at greening the industrial revolution transforming the Chinese economy at an unprecedented rate." - The Guardian

"But concerns about human rights in China will inevitably come up too, with Britain stressing that respect for human rights under the rule of law is an essential pre-requisite for China's long-term prosperity and stability." - BBC 

  • China ready to spend billions to prop up the Euro - Daily Mail

Rebel Tory threatened with a 'good hiding' in new bullying row - Daily Mail

Coalition and political news in Brief:

  • NHS reforms could reduce patients' trust in doctors, BMA warns - The Guardian
  • War dead to be driven down side streets to avoid the public - Daily Telegraph
  • Transport delays are due to red tape and Cable - David Wighton in the Times (£)
  • Lib Dem leader says independence possible - The Herald
  • Social care funding crisis looming, says Age UK - The Guardian
  • Local councils and taxpayers' cash: now you see it, now you don't - Andrew Gilligan in the Daily Telegraph
  • Brussels eyes Tobin tax to aid EU coffers - Financial Times (£)
  • Fiscal U-turn would be a tricky manoeuvre - The Guardian

Lord Ashdown: The Lords mustn’t be an ex-MPs’ retirement home

Ashdownea"Last week Labour old warhorses in the Lords ignored their manifesto commitment to an elected chamber and again joined backwoodsmen of the Tory right to block radical change. There is a chance for a great reform here. In the end, it may all depend on whether Labour in the Commons is prepared to put its money where its manifesto was. If it doesn’t, then we may lose another chance for change. Then we will know, once again, that Labour just cannot be trusted with reform." - Lord Ashdown, in the Times (£)

Strikes would be a mistake, insists Ed Miliband – but his shadow cabinet doesn't agree

Miliband Ed ITN"In an interview in the Guardian on Saturday, Miliband said he thought it would be a mistake for the unions to strike this week and his aides insist that remains his position. However, two shadow cabinet members close to Miliband – Peter Hain, the shadow Welsh secretary, and Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary – stopped short of Miliband's warning and instead urged both sides to avoid a strike." - The Guardian

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Peter Hain refuses to condemn strike action

Hain: Miliband 'getting into his stride' as leader

"Ed Miliband is "getting into his stride" after nearly nine months in his job and should not be underestimated, one of his leading allies said yesterday. The remarks by Peter Hain, who was a prominent supporter of Ed Miliband in last year's election campaign, coincided with a drive by the Labour leader to overhaul his party to turn it into a sharper campaigning organisation." - The Independent

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Blair continues to voice his concerns about Ed Miliband's leadership

And finally... the Chinese PM goes to see Shakespeare on his UK visit

"Wen Jiabao's three-day official visit to Britain began yesterday with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to pay homage to William Shakespeare. The Chinese premier, who is reportedly a big fan of the playwright, toured the house where Shakespeare was born and joked about Hamlet, said those present." - The Independent

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