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May 2010 newslinks

31 May 2010 08:58:00

Monday 31st May 2010

10pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: William Hague needs to issue a new statement on the flotilla incident

9pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove reportedly has no "ideological objection" to firms running academies making a profit

MajorJohn8.30pm ToryDiary: Major blamed for 1922 putsch

7pm WATCH: Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, Vice President of the European Conservatives and Reformists, looks ahead to his party forming a new centre-right government in Prague

4.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Is now really the time for the Queen to be asking for more public cash?

1.30pm ToryDiary: William Hague condemns Israel's "unacceptable" blockade of Gaza in wake of flotilla deaths

12.15pm Parliament: Damian Collins, Stephen Mosley and Thérèse Coffey give vocal backing to nuclear power in their maiden speeches

10.45am Melanchthon on CentreRightDavid Laws' resignation was the consequence of setting the misjudgement bar too low

Picture 29.45am ToryDiary: The Coalition will try to tough out the Telegraph's Danny Alexander revelations

ToryDiary: The government information and data being opened up to public scrutiny

Simon Clark on Platform: The tobacco industry has every right and every reason to lobby government

Local Government:

WATCH: Penrith's new MP, Rory Stewart, tells Sky News that "nation-building" must be a job for local communities in Afghanistan

Telegraph raises questions over Danny Alexander's "avoidance" of Capital Gains Tax

"The new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, avoided paying capital gains tax when he sold his taxpayer-funded second home at a profit, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Mr Alexander, who was appointed on Saturday after the resignation of fellow Liberal Democrat David Laws, designated the property as his second home for the purpose of claiming parliamentary expenses but described it to HM Revenue and Customs as his main home." - Daily Telegraph

> Last night's ToryDiary: The Telegraph guns for Danny Alexander after toppling David Laws

Coalition tries to calm fears following departure of David Laws

David Laws 3 "Senior figures in David Cameron's government attempted to calm jittery markets yesterday by insisting that the resignation of David Laws as Treasury chief secretary, and his replacement by the relatively inexperienced Danny Alexander, did not undermine plans for a deficit reduction programme in next month's emergency budget. As Michael Gove, the education secretary, acknowledged that the government had suffered a serious loss, ministers said Alexander would be just as much a hawk on the deficit as his predecessor, who had been winning plaudits from the Tory right for cutting £6bn from spending within a week of taking office." - The Guardian

"Senior Conservatives said that Mr Cameron had no choice but to promote Mr Alexander from Scottish Secretary because he did not dare to upset the delicate equilibrium between the parties." - The Times

"David Cameron sought to reassure the City on Sunday that the loss of David Laws as chief secretary to the Treasury would not destabilise the coalition government’s plans to tackle the £156bn deficit." - FT

"Mr Laws's departure is a serious and untimely blow for the Government. He has been the most effective Cabinet minister in the brief life of this coalition." - Independent editorial

The coalition will survive, but it has been weakened with loss of Laws - Peter Riddell in The Times

"The Parliamentary inquiry into David Laws is expected to stretch back almost a decade and may scrutinise claims totalling more than £140,000." - Daily Telegraph

The foul hypocrisy of David Laws’ downfall - Matthew Parris in The Times

Iain Duncan Smith signals 'major exemptions' to rise in capital gains tax

Iain Duncan Smith on Breakfast "Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, sent out a strong signal that there would be major concessions over the coalition's plans to raise capital gains tax from 18% to 40%. Duncan Smith said he was sure the chancellor, George Osborne, would want to make concessions to take the sting out of the issue." - The Guardian

> WATCH: IDS tells Andrew Marr that Osborne plans to take sting out of CGT rise

George Osborne spreads deficit cut gospel

"George Osborne will this week urge leading economies to follow Britain's lead and start cutting their budget deficits. The Chancellor will insist to fellow finance ministers that ' excessive deficits are a risk to the world recovery', according to the Treasury. At his first meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies, Osborne will tell other countries with heavy government borrowings that the time has come to wield the axe." -  Daily Mail

Peter Luff has "one of the toughest jobs in government"

Peter Luff "Liam Fox, the new secretary of state for defence, was one of the first ministers appointed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg... But it took two weeks to make the other key appointment - the minister for defence equipment and support. Peter Luff, the Conservative MP who was chairman of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee during the last parliament, was appointed only last Wednesday... Mr Luff, along with Dr Fox, now faces one of the toughest tasks in government. They will spend the five months between now and October dragged in opposite directions by the competing demands of what the armed forces need and what the country can afford. " - Daily Telegraph

Right-wing historian Niall Ferguson given school curriculum role

"Niall Ferguson, the British historian most closely associated with a rightwing, Eurocentric vision of western ascendancy, is to work with the Conservatives to overhaul history in schools... Michael Gove told the Guardian he "definitely" wanted Ferguson to be involved in a review of the curriculum, though he stopped short of signing up to Ferguson's proposal of a compulsory GCSE in history." - The Guardian

Gary McKinnon extradition can be stopped, says Lib Dem QC

"The coalition can and must save Gary McKinnon from extradition, the Government’s terror law adviser Lord Carlile says today. The senior Lib Dem peer insists that blocking the Asperger’s sufferer’s removal to the U.S. for computer hacking would not set any legal precedent involving other pending or future cases... Home Secretary Theresa May has temporarily halted his removal to consider new medical evidence." - Daily Mail

Theresa May urged to stop Islamic hate-preacher's tour

"Muslim fanatic Zakir Naik will start a tour preaching hate – unless new Home Secretary Theresa May stops him. The Islamic extremist, who once claimed “every Muslim should be a terrorist”, has been granted permission to enter the UK... Ms May, 53 is being urged to step in to stop him before he gives lectures at venues including Wembley and Sheffield arenas." - Daily Star

Ministers move to change universal jurisdiction law

"The government is moving swiftly to change the law on universal jurisdiction to abolish the ability to bring private prosecutions for international crimes in the UK. The foreign secretary, William Hague, has said the coalition government is already examining the law in detail, amid fears that the threat of arrest is preventing high-ranking Israelis from visiting the UK." - The Guardian

Boris Johnson: All our limo-loving politicians should be sent down the Tube

Boris Johnson smiling "David Cameron has made a good start in taking away some of these ministerial cars, but there is much further to go. We are going to take some very tough decisions in the next few years. We will push up the age of retirement, and I believe it should go to 70, rather than 68, and we will need to do it long before the current target of 2046. We must find ways of persuading huge numbers of people claiming incapacity benefit that they would be better off working. We must make difficult reforms to the benefits system, and in those circumstances it is utterly nauseating that politicians – and anyone benefiting from the public payroll – should think they can swank around in taxpayer-funded cars just because it used to be one of the perks of the job." - Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraph

Ed Miliband: The Lib Dems betrayed their principles by entering the Coalition

"Liberal Democrat voters have been "betrayed" by their party's coalition with the Conservatives, according to Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary. In the most vigorous attack on the Lib Dems since the government was formed Miliband, now a Labour leadership contender, said: "They are socially liberal but at same time – and this is where they have already betrayed a lot of people who voted for them – they believe in the state getting out of the way in terms of economics, and in terms of many of the things people value in our society." - The Guardian

Homeowners in a rush to sell after HIPs are scrapped - Daily Mail

Heating benefits for ex-pat elderly to be cut - The Independent

And finally... Lib Dem minister "warned to tone down her blogging"

Picture 2 "A minister who said she would love to ban The Sun's Page 3 has been rapped by civil servants after a series of online rants. Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone has been warned to tone down her blogging by Home Office officials. In one a fortnight ago, the equalities minister revealed she had been "lying in the bath thinking about the portfolio". She posted another in which she appeared to criticise Home Secretary Theresa May's record on gay rights." - The Sun

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30 May 2010 08:08:10

Sunday 30th May 2010

Screen shot 2010-05-30 at 22.11.14 10.15pm ToryDiary: The Telegraph guns for Danny Alexander after toppling David Laws

10pm WATCH: IDS tells Andrew Marr that Laws was right to resign and that Osborne plans to take sting out of CGT rise

4pm ToryDiary: Hague, IDS and Gove top Cabinet league table; Cable and Huhne get wooden spoons

ToryDiary: Let it be said: Most politicians aren't crooks

Lightbulb Also on ToryDiary: Are these Cameronism's seven big ideas?

Rupert Matthews on Platform: The Government should release all the work of the Climate Research Unit for public scrutiny

Local government: Congratulations to Shireen Ritchie, a Kensington and Chelsea councillor, on her well deserved peerage and Conservatives retain power in Mole Valley

International: Defying opinion polls which pointed towards a left-wing victory, right-wing parties win 46% of vote in Czech elections

WATCH: Nick Clegg: My admiration for David Laws has only grown in last 24 hours

The Sunday newspapers digest David Laws' resignation

4 "To safeguard the “new politics”, the PM had to sacrifice the very man who was its most impressive incarnation." - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

The Observer concludes Laws was right to go: "Mr Laws's job also demanded that he axe services and impose severe financial constraints on public sector workers. He could not, given the revelations about his expenses, credibly fulfil the function of an ambassador of austerity, as he honourably recognised in his statement last night. He is right to resign. His personal position deserves much sympathy, but his cabinet position was untenable."

As does The Sunday Times: "Mr Laws thought he could head off demands for his resignation by agreeing to pay back more than £40,000 that he claimed in rent paid to his gay companion and referring himself to the parliamentary standards commissioner. It was never going to be enough. His decision to pay back the money was an admission of guilt. His statement, that he was driven by a desire to protect his privacy and sexuality, may have elicited some sympathy but has no obvious bearing on why he chose to claim the expenses."

"The Prime Minister’s already hinting that this shy, tormented and gifted Liberal Democrat may yet make a political comeback. I hope so. A second chance for David Laws is in the public interest." - Paul Goodman in The Sunday Express

> Tim Montgomerie's "Immediate Reactions"

Coalition cabinet's rising star was too terrified to admit he was gay - Independent on Sunday

"In the end, the whole sorry farrago comes down to this: Did David Laws defraud the taxpayer or did he intend to? The answer to both questions is no. But in the end, for his personal reasons, he could not tough it out and decided to quit." - Iain Dale in the Mail on Sunday

Is Danny Alexander up to the job of replacing him?

"Mr Alexander led the Lib Dem team drawing up their election manifesto. He has held a string of frontbench jobs, including work and pensions." - News of the World

"The extraordinary journey of Danny Alexander from a regional Press officer to Chief Secretary to the Treasury completes one of the most meteoric rises in modern politics. But it also sparked intense speculation over whether a man who only five years ago was head of communications for the Cairngorms National Park was up to replacing David Laws in such a  crucial Cabinet post." - Mail on Sunday

Michael Moore is new Scottish Secretary

"Moore has experience of dealing with coalition government, having been an adviser to Jim Wallace, the former Scottish Lib Dem leader, when he was negotiating his party's first partnership administration with Donald Dewar's Labour Party in 1999. An Edinburgh University graduate, Moore was elected to parliament in 1997 and during Menzies Campbell's tenure as leader was foreign affairs spokesman. In parliament, he has also been the party's UK transport spokesman and a member of the Commons Scottish affairs select committee." - Scotland on Sunday

ScottishParliamentThe Tories aim to go into next year's Holyrood elections promising to make Scotland the lowest taxed part of the UK, Scotland on Sunday has learned - Scotland on Sunday

The Scottish Tory Chairman is ready to launch root-and-branch reform inquiry - Sunday Herald

Sunday Herald leader: "To be credible, it must consider far greater autonomy for the Scottish party, with freedom to criticise the leadership in London if it is seen to be acting against Scottish interests. It should look at a new name, perhaps dropping Unionist from the current mouthful of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. There should also be a single, over-arching leader and policies designed for Scotland, rather than parroted from the UK script. Whatever the redesign, it is not a party that Annabel Goldie deserves to inherit. When John Swinney was leader of the SNP, he lasted four years before a third poor election result forced him to quit. Goldie has now been the face of three rotten results in five years, yet she cheerfully soldiers on, straight for the enemy guns."

> ConservativeHome's General Election Review recommended CDU/CSU status for the Scottish Party

The Tory Co-Treasurer joins warnings against Coalition plans for higher CGT

David Cameron's plans to increase capital gains tax received a fresh blow this weekend after the Conservative Party co-treasurer, Stanley Fink, warned that the plans risked an exodus of wealth and talent from Britain - The Sunday Telegraph

Capital gains tax rises would punish the productive - David Green in The Sunday Telegraph

The Sunday Times reports that George Osborne will offer concessions to CGT rebels.

James Forsyth: Cameron is improving relationship with his MPs

"There are encouraging signs, though, that Cameron has understood that he needs to handle his party differently now that he is in coalition. He called Brady on Thursday night to congratulate him and, I’m informed, the two men exchanged warm words. On Thursday, he toured the tea room – something he did very rarely in the last Parliament – talking to his MPs about their concerns over the plan to increase capital gains tax. He also had a constructive conversation with John Redwood, one of the leading critics of the plan. In many cases, just explaining what and why the Government is doing things will be enough for Cameron to win round his MPs." - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

Inland Revenue blocked peerage for top Tory donor, Bamford of JCB - Sunday Times

"Lord Laidlaw, one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors, has forfeited his seat in the House of Lords because he does not want to give up his non-dom tax status." - The Sunday Times

The Independent on Sunday issues a warning to 'the Conservative right'

"The right-wing of the Conservative party needs to recognise two things. First, that the general election showed there was no mandate for a radical right-wing Conservative government. Second, the coalition is regarded as legitimate in the country." - Independent on Sunday leader

The Coalition has vetoed a £240,000-a-year pay offer to attract a new boss for spending watchdog the Audit Commission - Sunday Express

Fox & Cameron Cameron puts Defence high on the Cabinet pecking order - Mail on Sunday

Cameron must keep his promise on the Human Rights Act - Jimmy Young in the Sunday Express

Douglas Carswell and Brian Binley call for fewer holidays for civil servants - Mail on Sunday

Labour is the natural party of opposition - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Why I believe David Miliband should lead Labour - Ben Bradshaw in The Observer

Christopher Booker: Chris Huhne is a "woolly-minded" minister who will close down our economy - The Sunday Telegraph

And finally... Theresa May's Thunderbirds look

"Did somebody call International Rescue? Since becoming Home Secretary, Theresa May just can’t stop wearing a favourite jacket that makes her look like something out of Thunder birds. The Minister clearly loves the pale blue tunic-style jacket with a strange neckline that makes her resemble the cult Sixties puppets – or, at its dressiest, their London agent Lady Penelope. Mrs May has worn it at every key event of the past fortnight." - Mail on Sunday

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29 May 2010 08:50:35

Saturday 29th May 2010

10.30pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: Why should Ben Summerskill tell David Laws how to live his life?

9.15pm WATCH: David Laws' full resignation statement

Telegraph-decay-options 9pm Donal Blaney on Platform: It is time for conservatives to boycott the Telegraph. Anybody with me?

8pm ToryDiary: Immediate reactions to David Laws' resignation

8pm ToryDiary: BREAKING Danny Alexander replaces Laws

6.30pm ToryDiary: David Laws has resigned according to ConHome sources

6.15pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Obama plays A LOT of golf

Screen shot 2010-05-29 at 13.37.321.30pm ToryDiary: Growing support for Coalition among Tory members

10.30am Martin Sewell on Platform: "We must refute the notion that sex + financial claim = dishonour"

ToryDiary: David Laws paying rent of £40,000 to long-term partner may have broken Commons rules

Howard Flight on Platform: There are advantages to the Coalition - but will it be able to deal with the biggest challenges facing the country?

Local government: From Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs

Parliament: New MPs John Glen and Neil Parish use maiden speeches to highlight challenges facing rural Britain

Cameron defends "modest" CGT rise...

"What we're proposing here is a modest increase in capital gains tax revenue in order to pay for raising income tax allowances... So this is to help less well-off people, and I think that makes sense." - Quoted in The Guardian

...as The Times joins the calls for a U-turn

TIMES "When Nigel Lawson cut top tax rates from 60 to 40 per cent, tax revenues soared. When President Reagan cut CGT from 28 to 20 per cent, revenues jumped from $12.5 billion to $18.7 billion in only two years... The top 1 per cent of taxpayers in Britain pay a quarter of all income tax revenues. The top 5 per cent pay 43 per cent. Driving the rich abroad could be worse than a catastrophe; it could be a fiscal blunder." - Times leader

"A serious government would cut spending more and faster, using a part of the savings not just to keep CGT low, but also to cut income tax for everybody." - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph

Cameron insists he is committed to bringing 200mph trains to the Leeds - Yorkshire Post

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron promises to build dynamic economy

Cameron has called for a clamp-down on kerb crawling and said the decriminalisation of prostitution should be "looked at again" - BBC

Two major donors to the Conservative Party have been handed places in the House of Lords

"More than £500,000 has been handed to the party by Dolar Popat, a multi-millionaire business tycoon, and Simon Wolfson, chief executive of the clothing chain Next. Both are now heading to the Lords. The peerages have emerged as David Cameron prepares to make a series of policy announcements that will highlight his championing of "government transparency"." - Independent

PRESCOTT-JOHN-HAND-GESTURES "John Prescott completed his transformation from working class bruiser to establishment pillar yesterday when he accepted a peerage  -  to placate his wife's fury over his affair with a secretary. The former Deputy Prime Minister always said he would never accept a seat in the House of Lords and has been a vocal opponent of 'flunkery and titles'." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's Parliament report: Michael Howard, John Maples, Shireen Ritchie are among new Tory peers; John Prescott, Sue Nye and Quentin Davies become Labour peers

Chris Patten re-opens EPP issue

"In an interview with BBC Parliament programme the Record: Europe, Patten predicted that David Cameron will eventually see the error of his ways and rejoin the mainstream centre right group in the European parliament." - Guardian

Tory MP Alun Cairns will stay as Welsh AM to prevent right-winger taking his place - Western Mail

There is a bad David Cameron and a good David Cameron - Matthew Parris in The Times reflects on the media management of Team Cameron

Andrew Grice: How will the Coalition end for Clegg?

Clegg Deputy PM "Although the coalition is still in its honeymoon phase, Liberal Democrats also wonder about how this marriage of convenience will end. They can see a clear exit strategy for Mr Cameron at the next election: "We have shown we can govern responsibly, we are no longer the nasty party, we want a new mandate." But they can't see a smooth way out for Mr Clegg." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

There will be occasions when an MP really will need the quiet, the table and the greater privacy which first-class can better provide - Guardian

Alastair Campbell's Diaries reveal tensions at the top of New Labour - Guardian

And finally... The Sun Says is inspired by The TaxPayers' Alliance's new video

TAXPAYERS ALLIANCE "Britain's average nine-to-five workers have to slog away until 1.21pm every day before they start earning for themselves. For the first 76 minutes, the cash just pays off income tax. Then it's three-quarters of an hour for National Insurance, another 40 minutes for VAT, more time to cover motoring and council taxes, duties on booze, fags and betting... until more than HALF the day has gone. Only then do we get to keep our hard-earned money from the taxman's grasp." - The Sun Says

WATCH THE VIDEO.

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28 May 2010 08:44:33

Friday 28th May 2010

9.30pm Local government: Conservatives gain seat in Isle of Wight Council byelection

6.15pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: David Laws was apparently offered a new pot plant for his Treasury Office when he arrived there for the first time...

HOWARD-MICHAEL 4.45pm Parliament: Michael Howard, John Maples, Shireen Ritchie are among new Tory peers; John Prescott, Sue Nye and Quentin Davies become Labour peers

4.30pm Tom Greeves on CentreRight objects to being asked about his faith, gender, sexuality...

4.15pm WATCH: Cameron discusses the economic challenges facing Britain and the eurozone

3.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron promises to build dynamic economy

12.30pm ToryDiary: What do you think of the Cabinet? What do you think of David Davis? Do you think the Coalition is a good thing overall?

11.30am Local government: Councils stop work on CAAs

10.45am Mark Wallace on CentreRight highlights a new TaxPayers' Alliance video: From 9am to 1.21pm - working for the tax man

ToryDiary: Who should be on BBC Question Time panels in this age of Coalition government?

Ben Rogers on Platform: A Wilberforce agenda for the Coalition’s Foreign Policy

W&M Liam Maxwell on Local government: Windsor and Maidenhead goes further on transparency

Seats and candidates: Anne McIntosh secures comfortable victory over Liberal Democrats in Thirsk and Malton

Parliament: Zac Goldsmith uses maiden speech to declare that Conservatives are the party of the environment

LeftWatch: Simon Hughes could be the man - one day - to tell Nick Clegg that the Coalition is no longer in the Liberal Democrats' interests

Graeme Archer on CentreRight: How The East Was Lost

Cameron to focus on economy in first major speech as PM

CAMERON LOOKING UP "David Cameron will outline plans to "transform" the economy in his first major speech as prime minister. Mr Cameron, who will speak at an event in Yorkshire, will claim the economy has been heading in the wrong direction under Labour for years. He will also talk of rebalancing the economy in favour of manufacturing, business and the private sector." - BBC

"Mr Cameron will say that his Government’s priority is to transform the economy, starting with action to tackle the £156 billion deficit. He will signal cuts to business tax and red tape, and the creation of a simpler tax system." - Times

Cameron admits efficiencies fell short but defends coalition's £6.2bn spending cuts - Daily Mail

City AM and Telegraph launch campaigns against Coalition plans on Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax rise to punish prudent savers - Telegraph

Bringing together senior business leaders, City AM launches a campaign against higher CGT.

"Vince Cable, the Lib Dem business secretary, urged Mr Cameron not to yield to pressure from Tory backbenchers, arguing that CGT reform was essential in the interests of “fairness”." - FT

Times and Sun welcome IDS' welfare reforms

DUNCAN SMITH DP "Mr Duncan Smith has spent six years at the Centre for Social Justice exploring the links between welfare dependency and social breakdown. Few politicians know more about poverty and its causes. Above all, he understands that welfare must be reformed at a philosophical level: it should be remedial, not merely ameliorative. The Government must have the courage and tenacity to follow through his thinking and his proposals." - Times leader

"Mr Duncan Smith aims to replace Labour's complicated rules with a single welfare-to-work programme. We also need tax changes so work pays. Today, someone looking at a £15,000 job is better off on the dole: which is why 670,000 households are on benefit of at least £15,600 a year. Tackling welfarism will be hard with high unemployment. But no one can say Mr Duncan Smith lacks courage or vision." - The Sun Says

The FT's leader-writers are sceptical about Iain Duncan Smith's reforms.

Gove's claim to be 'freeing' schools is a cloak for more control from the centre - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

David Cameron 'facing English backlash over Scottish spending' - Telegraph

"According to the IPPR, Northern Ireland gets £6,120 in public spending per head of population compared to £4,827 in England, £5,506 in Wales and £6,016 in Scotland. Its calculation, which does not include social security spending, puts the province 26.7% ahead of the English level. The UK average was £4,997 per head of population." - Belfast Telegraph

Tory Right is not really so fearsome - Frederick Forsyth in The Express

Ed Miliband to call for large rise in minimum wage - Times

And finally... the Camerons move into Downing Street as a family

"David Cameron has moved into Number 10 Downing Street with his wife Samantha and family, more than two weeks after he became Prime Minister. After enjoying a "last breakfast" on Thursday morning at his west London home, the family started moving boxes, furniture and belongings into vans." - ITN

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