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May 2012 newslinks

5 May 2013 09:09:12

Newslinks for Sunday 5th May 2013

5.45pm ToryDiary: The Queen's Speech and the language of priorities

12.15pm Local government: Hard work and sound Conservative policies kept UKIP at bay in Shropshire

Noon WATCH: Lord Tebbit says UKIP are offering "politics of the common ground"

10.30am ToryDiary: Nigel Evans denies "completely false" rape allegations

ToryDiary: Redwood wants an EU poll bill. So does Baron. Both raise the question: How long should the coalition last?

John Redwood MP on Comment: Why we need a referendum now – to give Mr Cameron the authority to create a new relationship with the EU

Also on Comment: Adam Afriyie MP, in his second ConservativeHome column, says that My own life story has led me to prize British citizenship - which must be rationed more carefully  

ObservervoteGrowing calls for earlier EU referendum...

"The MPs demanding an urgent response, including David Davis, the former leadership challenger, called on David Cameron to give the public absolute certainty about his intentions over Europe by legislating soon for an initial "mandate" referendum, to take place next year, ahead of or at the same time as the European elections in May." - The Observer

  • "The Sunday Telegraph has spoken to MPs from across the party who today disclose that they back the plan. They include John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Commons Culture Select Committee; Dr Julian Lewis, a former senior Central Office official; and prominent members of the 2010 intake including Dominic Raab, Henry Smith, Richard Drax and Priti Patel." - Sunday Telegraph

> Today:

SunTeleu....But William Hague says no change

"If doing the right thing means sacrifices, tough decisions, a spell of unpopularity – so be it. Other politicians can promise easy ways out of the mess if they wish; the Conservative Party will keep working in Britain’s national interest, however long and grinding and painstaking that work may be." - William Hague Sunday Telegraph

  • "Foreign Secretary William Hague says the Conservative Party does not need a "drastic change of course" despite its poor showing in local election results last week." - BBC

Local elections: Nigel Farage urges Conservatives to ditch Cameron as leader..

"UKIP leader Nigel Farage has made a dramatic offer to form an election pact with the Tories – but only if they dump David Cameron as leader. Buoyed by big gains in Thursday’s town hall elections, Farage last night said he is ready to join forces with the Conservatives to keep Ed Miliband out of power." - Interview in Mail on Sunday


SunTimesevans...Stuart Wheeler says UKIP could do a deal with Boris...

"The UKIP treasurer says its leadership would rather deal with Boris Johnson than with David Cameron in the run-up to the next election. Stuart Wheeler, the multimillionaire former Tory donor, said it was “much more likely” that his party could work with the mayor of London than the prime minister on a potential pact in certain constituencies in the 2015 general election." - Sunday Times(£)

  • "A “non-aggression pact” between Tory candidates and UKIP has been backed by a number of Conservative MPs. Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said: “We should explore some kind of electoral agreement.” Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, said he supported local pacts for Ukip not to stand against Eurosceptic Tories." - Sunday Times(£)

..But Ed Miliband is under more pressure from within his Party

"Labour leader Ed Miliband was last night warned by backbenchers to ‘wake up’ to the threat from UKIP and sack underperforming members of his Shadow Cabinet, or face the consequences at the General Election...Labour MP Graham Stringer condemned the results as ‘not good enough’...Fellow backbencher, Bassetlaw MP John Mann, said new policies should be drawn up to meet the UKIP threat." - Mail on Sunday

  • "Farage's common touch has an impact on Ed Miliband too. He has embarked on a brave and much needed enterprise – to build a fairer social contract that responds to concerns about immigration and delivers growth and prosperity for all. The mechanics of how such a contract is constructed and costed is one issue; another is Miliband's need to develop a more populist touch." - Leader The Observer
  • Only 31% on an Opinium poll can envisage Ed Milband becoming PM - Observer
  • On YouGov the Labour lead is back up to 10% - but only 30% think it "likely" Miliband will ever be PM - YouGov

JenkinBernard Jenkin backs calls for Mandate Referendum

"The prime minister should ask Parliament to approve a “mandate” referendum for next year, setting out his terms for the “new relationship” he wants the UK to have with our European partners. All the polls show voters...want our Parliament once again to control our own laws and courts– the sovereignty which David Cameron rightly described as our precious democratic heritage. If Labour or the Lib Dems try to stop this referendum… well, just let them try!" - Bernard Jenkin Sunday Telegraph

MhillWhy did Lincolnshire turn purple?

"Martin Hill, the Conservative leader of Lincolnshire county council, pointed out that most of the Tory losses were in the east of the county, which has a heavy presence of eastern European migrants....He also criticises ministers for repeating the Prime Minister’s claim that Ukip is a bunch of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”...“It was a silly mistake to insult people who are Ukip or thinking of voting Ukip,” Mr Hill said. “That was really shooting ourselves in the foot.” - Sunday Telegraph

The Sun warns UKIP voters against letting in Miliband

"Nothing much is certain after Thursday’s vote. But it IS certain Nigel Farage will not be elected PM in 2015. If Cameron isn’t either, Ed Miliband will be. And UKIP voters won’t hear one word from him they’re going to like." - The Sun Says

 Treasury to name and shame wasteful Ministers..

"The Treasury is compiling a “dossier of shame” showing unnecessary and profligate spending by government departments as it demands that unprotected ministries cut 10% from their budgets. The examples of wasteful spending are to be produced as part of a fraught review in which the Treasury is demanding cuts of up to £14bn across all government budgets apart from health, schools and international development." - Sunday Times (£)

Iososborne...but Osborne told he is "wasting money" on new roads

"George Osborne is pushing ahead with a massive nationwide road-building programme despite high-level concerns from ministers and Department for Transport (DfT) officials that there is little evidence it will boost the economy." - Independent on Sunday

Increased Overseas Aid "won't be enshrined in law"

"David Cameron is risking a major fracture in the coalition after deciding to renege on his promise to enshrine foreign aid spending in law as he attempts to pacify the right wing of his party. The Observer can reveal that the flagship policy – promised in the 2010 coalition agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – will not be in Wednesday's Queen's speech and will not now come to pass under this government."  - The Observer

Adam Afriyie calls for Immigrants Tax

"I propose non-British citizens working in the UK pay a tax supplement of, say, two per cent on top of their base-rate income tax. That would guarantee foreign workers are contributing to the upkeep of the UK – contributing to strong British courts, UK defence and vital national services. But if these measures are to be effective, they must also apply to EU immigrants." - Adam Afriyie Mail on Sunday

>Today: Comment - Adam Afriyie MP says My own life story has led me to prize British citizenship - which must be rationed more carefully  

  • David Cameron won't prosper by trying to outkip the kippers - Andrew Rawnsley The Observer

HeseltinenewHeseltine says growth is returning but productivity is the key issue

"The latest GDP figures, showing 0.3pc growth in the economy in the first quarter of this year, were interpreted by some observers, including Lord Heseltine’s Conservative colleague Kenneth Clarke, as showing that Britain is bumping along the bottom. Lord Heseltine disagrees, seeing the statistic as the first sign of genuine post-recession growth. “I think it’s changing,” he says. “0.3pc of quarterly growth is 1.2pc of annual growth..." Interview Sunday Telegraph

AshcroftnewLord Ashcroft: Why I'm giving half my money away

"During the Eighties when I started investing in the United States, I discovered that one of the most appealing traits of American life is the tendency of many wealthy individuals to see it as part of their civic duty to support charities. Over the years, I became a convert to philanthropy and I started donating to deserving and innovative causes. I saw that some of the best ideas to emerge in the US had their roots in charities and the freedom to innovate that they provided." - Lord Ashcroft Sunday Telegraph

Nigel Evans MP arrested over allegations of gay rape. A colleague describes him as 'Caring, compassionate and in no way violent':

"Nigel Evans was taken to a police station in Lancashire, where he is Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, and questioned over offences dating from 2009 to March this year." - Mail on Sunday

  • "The MP revealed in December 2010 that he was homosexual, saying that he was “tired of living a lie”. In an interview at the time he said: “With my background in south Wales it was hard enough being a Tory, let alone being gay. “It wasn’t so much ‘the only gay in the village’ as the ‘only Tory in Swansea’.” Other MPs said they were shocked by the arrest. Tory Mark Field said: “I am absolutely stunned. Nigel is a universally popular guy. He’s quite a private guy. It will stun every- one at the Commons.” - Sunday Times (£)
  • Nigel Evans has a healthy Parliamentary majority in Ribble Valley of over 14,700 – but should his arrest trigger a by-election, it could still present a huge headache for David Cameron. Even before Nigel Farage’s UKIP emerged as the ‘fourth force’ in British politics last week, the constituency had a history of causing difficulty for Conservative Prime Ministers. - Mail on Sunday
  • 'Caring, compassionate and in no way violent': MPs come out in support of good-humoured and popular Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans. - Mail on Sunday

What to expect from the Queen's Speech - Independent on Sunday

Israeli rockets hit Damascus - BBC

Government plans to privatise Student Loans - Sunday Times

EarlhoweDoctors "threaten" to remove Health Minister Earl Howe from a committee

"A health minister is facing the humiliation of being ousted from a prestigious role within the Royal College of Physicians over claims that he falsely reassured doctors who feared the coalition would
privatise of the NHS." - The Observer

And finally...Michael Gove takes up the ukulele

"Michael Gove, the education secretary, is to have lessons in playing the ukulele to take his mind off the pressures of his high-profile cabinet job. Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, a journalist on The Times, has signed him up for a course to learn how to play the guitar-like instrument at the Idler Academy near the family home in west London" - Sunday Times (£)


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

31 May 2012 08:28:50

Newslinks for Thursday 31st May 2012

6.30pm WATCH: Hunt at Leveson -

4pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part Three...

3.45pm Local Government: Less red tape for housing associations selling vacant properties

3.30pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part Two...

3pm ToryDiary: Overheard in the Treasury: Part One...

1.15pm WATCH: Hunt at Leveson: I was sympathetic to the BSkyB bid - but I didn't support it

ToryDiary: Increasingly pessimistic Tory grassroots think Labour government is likeliest outcome of next election

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Whether Scotland stays in the Union is not purely up to the Scots

HOWELL JOHNJohn Howell MP on Comment: Labour always fails when it comes to economic responsibility, as the IMF's 1976 report shows

Local Government: Michael Mates seeks nomination for Hampshire police commissioner

The Deep End: The German banker's cunning plan


Osborne to launch £500m in business loans

Osborne on Marr AM"The government will on Thursday invite bids to manage a further 500 million pounds of credit easing funds, the second tranche of business loans aimed at easing the flow of finance to cash-strapped companies, the Treasury said on Wednesday." - Reuters

  • "Mr Osborne will today pledge to stand by another £500million of cheap loans to struggling businesses. It follows £700million offered up in March’s Budget." - The Sun
  • IEA: Cut Chancellor's pay if he fails to balance Budget - Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne warned of fly-tipping chaos as 'skip tax' gets messy - Independent
  • Brussels launches own plan for growth as leaders argue - Scotsman
  • Illiterate school-leavers and workless households are destabilising UK economy, says European Commission - Daily Mail

Paul Goodman: An in/out referendum promise would be Osborne's biggest gamble yet

Eu_flag"Such a gambit would disrupt the UK Independence party, which is committed to an in-out poll; outmanoeuvre Ed Miliband, who is mulling the same option; and spike the guns of the London Mayor, who is flaunting his eurosceptic views before the Tory faithful like a medieval jester parading his livery. Such a course would carry risks to the party’s unity, to put it mildly, not to mention Britain’s future. But then this chancellor is in the risk business. A renegotiation referendum would be his biggest gamble of all." - Paul Goodman for the FT (£)

> From yesterday - WATCH: Channel 4 News report on ConservativeHome poll showing Tory members want an in/out referendum pledge in the next manifesto

Cameron: I rely on the Queen's Great British common sense

Queen's-Speech-procession"The Prime Minister says the Queen is able to “cut through the fuss and see what really matters” when they discuss domestic and world events in their hour-long conversations. Mr Cameron, the 12th prime minister of the Queen’s reign, says that her “time-tested wisdom” has been invaluable during his two years in office, when he has faced the pressure of keeping a Coalition together as well as running the country." - Daily Telegraph

  • 'Our common sense Queen', by the Prime Minister: Cameron pays tribute in book chronicling Her Majesty's six decades - Daily Mail

Jeremy Hunt's ministerial career in balance as he goes before Leveson

Hunt Jeremy red tie"Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, will set out his version of events to the Leveson inquiry on Thursday as he fights to save his ministerial career amid a weight of allegations casting doubt on his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid. ... Hunt is expected to make a day-long appearance and be grilled on evidence revealed over the past five weeks suggesting that his office set up a private back channel to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation" - Guardian

  • Leveson inquiry questions Jeremy Hunt is likely to face - Guardian
  • Hunt aide told News Corp of licence fee deal - FT (£)

More Leveson coverage

  • Andy Coulson arrested and charged with perjury - Daily Telegraph
  • Top civil servant ‘exposed Cameron to Leveson risks’ - The Times (£)
  • Andy Coulson charge shows how David Cameron's past overshadows his future - Guardian
  • Britain needs a free, aggressive, irreverant press, Ken Clarke tells Leveson Inquiry - Daily Mail
  • Ken Clarke says journalists entitled to bribe in extreme cases - Guardian
  • News Corp made veiled threats, says Cable - Guardian
  • Michael Gove breezed in and said the whole inquiry was fundamentally flawed. No wonder Leveson was irritated! - Melanie Phillips for the Daily Mail

> From yesterday - WATCH: Vince Cable: Lib Dems were threatened with being "done over" in the News International press if I didn't make the "right" decision on Sky takeover

Damian Green says genuine students don't need to fear crackdown on overseas recruitment

GREEN DAMIAN BLUE BACKGROUND"The immigration minister yesterday insisted genuine foreign students have nothing to fear from a crackdown on overseas recruitment. ... However Mr Green said: ‘There is no limit on the number of genuine students who can come to the UK and our reforms are not stopping them. But we are determined to prevent the abuse of student visas as part of our plans to get net migration down. Students coming to the UK for over a year are not visitors – numbers affect communities, public services and infrastructure.’" - Daily Mail

Justine Greening: Retailers may be forced to pass on price cuts

"Transport Secretary Justine Greening has said she will consider legislation to force petrol retailers to pass on cuts in the wholesale price of fuel. The Department for Transport says pump prices paid by motorists have fallen by just 7p despite a 10p fall in wholesale prices since April. Ms Greening told the BBC she would consider taking further action to ensure motorists "get a better deal"." - BBC

1922 Committee Secretary Nick de Bois warns Government not to make too many u-turns, or risk reputation for competence

Nick de Bois Commons"Nick de Bois has warned that the continuing U-turns by the government are "frustrating" and "irritating" to Tory Backbenchers, suggesting that any more policy reversals could start to seriously damage the coalition's credibility. ... "Eventually there will come a point when competency can become an issue... When it goes from a question of being a listening and responding government, it is quite possible that it becomes a government which has its competency challenged."" - Huffington Post

Sue Cameron: How Whitehall views Cameron's potential successors

10-downing-street"William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Able and talented, he’s seen to be doing a good job at the Foreign Office ... Michael Gove would be another serious contender. Courteous, he’s a man of steel but a “dreaded choice” for many civil servants ... Philip Hammond ... a safe pair of hands – always high praise in Whitehall terms ... Theresa May is given credit simply for surviving for two years in the notoriously treacherous job of Home Secretary ... Boris Johnson ... Despite his buffoonery, he has the kind of winning streak that civil servants always like" - Sue Cameron for the Daily Telegraph

Douglas Carswell to allow online voters to decide an idea for a private member's bill

"Irritated that he came bottom in a ballot of 20 MPs, Douglas Carswell has decided to let voters decide which of his five ideas for a new law he should attempt to guide through parliament. Without Government support, a private member's bill stands little chance of becoming law, but Mr Carswell hopes one of his ideas might take off and persuade ministers to back it."- Daily Telegraph

Tory donor withdraws funding over tax relief cap

"Venture capitalist Jon Moulton, who has given more than £300,000 to the Conservatives since 2004, has also expressed his disagreement with George Osborne's economic strategy. In a newspaper interview, Mr Moulton called for a swift about-turn on the decision to include charitable gifts in a cap on tax breaks announced in the Budget." - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron to discuss Chagos Islands sovereignty with Mauritius - Guardian

Alex Salmond's £46 billion green 'gamble' with Scotland's economy

SALMOND ALEX"Alex Salmond is gambling with Scotland’s economy by placing a £46 billion “fantasy” bet on green energy despite its “catastrophic” record of making money, one of the world’s leading banks has told MSPs." - Daily Telegraph

  • The tension between developers of wind farms and new housing and Nimbys is sure to grow – but something has to give - Bruce Anderson for the Daily Telegraph
  • "The taxman has confirmed he is under no obligation to collect any new levies introduced by SNP ministers in Scotland if they differ too much from the UK system" - Daily Telegraph

MSPs vote to keep Queen as head of state if Scotland splits from UK

"An attempt to reject the Queen as the head of state in an independent Scotland was overwhelmingly rejected by MSPs in a debate held at the Scottish Parliament to mark the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee." - Scotsman

  • "The Scottish Parliament is to formally to endorse plans for independence, in a vote by MSPs." - BBC

Independent front page 21st May 12Doctors vote to go on strike on 21st June - Independent

  • "The BMA decision to call for industrial action over pensions is not justified. A strike by doctors will hinder the NHS" - The Times (£) editorial
  • "What part of “Britain is broke” do doctors not understand?" - The Sun Says
  • The shameful self-interest of doctors - Independent editorial
  • Shabby, disreputable and just plain wrong - Daily Mail editorial
  • Doctors should know it’s the same bitter pill for all - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley is right to reform doctors' pensions

Civil servants in charge of policy delivery failures to be named and shamed - Daily Telegraph

Number of A&E patients waiting more than four hours is highest since 2004 - Guardian

It may seem painless, but drone war in Afghanistan is destroying the West's reputation - Peter Oborne for the Daily Telegraph

The people of Syria wonder why the West will not help. Twenty years ago, jihadis stepped into the breach in Bosnia - David Aaronovitch for the Times (£)

  • "International troops could be forced to intervene in Syria if the collapse of President Bashar al-Assad's regime were to leave stockpiles of his chemical weapons vulnerable to terrorists" - Daily Telegraph

The Queen is Defender of all Britain’s Faiths - Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi, for the Times (£)


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

30 May 2012 08:30:17

Newslinks for Wednesday 30th May 2012

8pm WATCH: Alan Milburn: "The glass ceiling might have been scratched, but it certainly hasn't been broken"

4.30pm ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley is right to reform doctors' pensions

Cable at Leveson2.15pm WATCH: Vince Cable: Lib Dems were threatened with being "done over" in the News International press if I didn't make the "right" decision on Sky takeover

1.15pm MPsETC: Tory MPs refute media myth that Parliament being in recess means they are "on holiday"

10.45am LISTEN: "You're English!" - Welsh nationalist gets into heated argument with Welsh MP (and Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee), David TC Davies MP

ToryDiary: Ken Clarke bids to end unjustified compensation payouts for terrorist suspects

Columnist Jill Kirby: It's time to scrap the child poverty target, and replace it with broader measures

Ashworth RichardRichard Ashworth MEP on Comment: In the EU, "austerity" means reality, and growth can only be achieved through competitiveness

Local Government: Independents and Conservatives reach deal to run Mole Valley

The Deep End: What it means to be a conservative

WATCH: Channel 4 News report on ConservativeHome poll showing Tory members want an in/out referendum pledge in the next manifesto

David Cameron is "consulting" on plans to put a referendum in the next manifesto

Cameron pale blue tie"David Cameron is consulting senior Conservatives over plans to promise a referendum on Europe in the party’s next manifesto. ... Chancellor George Osborne is believed to be encouraging senior ministers to make their views known on the issue. ... A senior Government source said the Prime Minister was inviting views on whether to promise a referendum. ‘We are thinking a lot about Europe and wanting to hear Conservative views,’ they said." - Daily Mail

70% of Tories 'want to quit EU'

"Seven out of 10 Conservative members would vote to leave the European Union and eight out of 10 want the party to promise an in/out referendum in its manifesto at the next general election, according to a poll released today. The Channel 4 News survey found that more than one-third of Tories (36 per cent) believe Britain will be outside the EU in 10 years time, while 38 per cent said the UK would remain a member but on renegotiated terms, while just 26 per cent expect the relationship to remain the same." - Independent

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Special ConHome poll: Almost three in four Tory members would vote to leave the EU now

Ministers are "preparing the ground" for a u-turn on the charity tax

Osborne NewX"On Tuesday Conservative MP David Ruffley, a member of the Treasury select committee, told the BBC minsters were "preparing the ground" for another major policy reverse on the plan to limit tax relief for charity donations at £50,000 or 25% of a person's income, whichever was bigger." - Guardian

"Treasury sources confirmed that ministers were considering raising the proposed cap above £50,000 and allowing the tax relief to be rolled over between years. They are also examining whether the proposed rules can be redrawn to protect legitimate UK charities by specifically outlawing donations to bogus foreign charities." - Independent

  • Government turns on petrol fat cats - The Sun
  • Greggs shares leap over pasty tax U-turn - The Times (£)

More U-Turn coverage

  • From secret justice to VAT, coalition U-turns are in the right direction - Simon Jenkins for the Guardian
  • The stakes are perilously high for our winner-takes-all Chancellor - Benedict Brogan for the Daily Telegraph
  • "Mr Osborne’s reputation as the master strategist – the man who persuaded Britain to embrace austerity and who made the country a “safe haven” – has taken a battering." - FT (£)
  • A U-turn every three weeks: Government's 32 major policy retreats in two years - Daily Mirror

> From yesterday:

Michael Gove warns Leveson on liberty

Gove on Marr"The case for more regulation of the press needs to be very strong "before we further curtail liberty", Michael Gove has told the Leveson Inquiry. The education secretary said he was "concerned about any prior restraint and on their [journalists'] exercising of freedom of speech." He said existing laws should be used to judge individuals and institutions."" - BBC

  • Michael Gove plays a blinder at Leveson - David Hughes for the Daily Telegraph
  • Links between media and MPs can be too close, says Gove - Scotsman
  • Michael Gove: Rupert Murdoch is an 'impressive and significant figure' - Guardian
  • Michael Gove open-minded over state schools being run for profit - Guardian

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: If Michael Gove wants to stop the party leadership talk...

Secret court hearings still under attack, despite concessions

CLARKE KEN FRESH"The Government's original plans for a major extension of "secret courts" in civil proceedings have been substantially scaled back in the face of protests from lawyers and MPs of all parties. But the Justice and Security Bill, which was finally published after wrangling within the Coalition, still faces widespread criticism for undermining fundamental British principles of open justice. Critics also warned that the revised proposals could still prevent the public from learning about allegations of complicity in rendition by the intelligence services." -Independent

  • "If the Justice and Security Bill passes, the security services will have greater jurisdiction to withhold information" - John Kampfner for the Independent
  • 'Nobody's going to stop me chillaxing:' Clarke brushes aside photos of him yawning at the cricket and vows to carry on - Daily Mail

Damian Green says the Government's student immigration policy will not harm Britain

GREEN DAMIAN BLUE BACKGROUND"Immigration Minister Damian Green said the government was "determined to prevent the abuse of student visas as part of our plans to get net migration down to the tens of thousands." "Students coming to the UK for over a year are not visitors", he said. "Numbers affect communities, public services and infrastructure." - BBC

  • Immigration policies will damage higher education, say education experts - Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: The Government needs Police Commissioner elections to succeed to help restore trust in politicians

"The Right cannot afford the November police commissioner election to be a similar flop. It needs to take very seriously the fears that turnout could be low and candidates could be of poor calibre. The elections are not a minor event; they are a major test of a central idea. Because, when it comes to trust in politicians, if this fails, what else is there?" - Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)

William Hague kicks out Syrian diplomats

"The country's Charge D’Affaires is being expelled along with two other diplomats as an expression of “horror” at the regime, Foreign Secretary William Hague said. ... Mr Hague said there was no desire by the United Nations Security Council for a military intervention but said international pressure on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would continue to be increased." - The Sun

  • Syrian diplomats expelled across world as outrage over Houla massacre grows - Guardian
  • The time has now come to act and show that the Assad regime is wrong - Times (£) editorial

A new special relationship: Cameron holds eight conversations with Blair on how to run the country


"David Cameron has developed a ‘special relationship’ with Tony Blair, holding at least eight conversations with him on how to run the country. Mr Blair visited Mr Cameron’s official country residence of Chequers last July – a meeting that has previously never been disclosed by Downing Street. The pair have also had at least seven phone conversations since Mr Cameron took the keys to No10, a rate of around once every three months." - Daily Mail

Work Programme has made £9bn ‘black hole’ - The Times (£)

Wildlife minister under fire in another game-shooting case - Independent

Nick Clegg unveils "flexi-hours" for parents

Clegg Nick welfare system"Parents will be able to drop their children off earlier and pick them up later under a new shake-up of childcare rules, it will be announced today. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will unveil plans which offer greater flexibility to mums and dads over how they use their 15 hours a week of free childcare. ... But this time limit will now be extended by two hours so that parents can use their free entitlement from 7am to 7pm." - Daily Mail

> From yesterday - Alistair Thompson on Comment: Cowardly Clegg - and his attempt to distract attention from his own links to the Murdochs

'First nuclear station for 30 years': Ministers 'on cusp' of signing new deal - Daily Mail

Labour 'underestimated Galloway in Bradford by-election'

GALLOWAY George"The Labour Party "massively underestimated" the threat from George Galloway and Respect in local elections in West Yorkshire, a report has said. The report found that the Labour Party in Bradford West failed to engage with the community, which has a large population of Asian origin. ... The report, conducted by the party's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), said Labour had failed to win the trust of Bradford West voters." - BBC

Scottish independence supporters disagree about celebrating the Diamond Jubilee 

"Divisions in the Yes Scotland camp over the monarchy will be laid bare in parliament today when Alex Salmond proposes a motion praising the Queen. ... However, the wording of the motion will not sit easily with those in the parliament, including SNP MSPs Roseanna Cunningham and Christine Grahame, who believe that an independent Scotland should dispense with the monarchy." - Scotsman

Bob CrowOlympic Tube strike averted - Independent

Blackberrys for police scheme fails to cut costs, say MPs - BBC

Decision due on doctors' industrial action vote - BBC

  • Medical profession must open doors to poor students, says Alan Milburn - Guardian

School children need compulsory body image lessons, say MPs - BBC

Ignorant officials sidelining religion, warns Archbishop of Canterbury - Daily Telegraph

Sinn Fein faithful back meeting the Queen and Troubles apology - Belfast Telegraph

And finally... The odd couple: Angelina Jolie brings Hollywood to the Foreign Office as she teams up with William Hague to tackle sexual violence in warzones - Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

29 May 2012 08:30:28

Newslinks for Tuesday 29th May 2012

5.15pm ToryDiary: If Michael Gove wants to stop the party leadership talk...

3.30pm ToryDiary: Special ConHome poll: Almost three in four Tory members would vote to leave the EU now

12.30pm Local Government:

Noon Alistair Thompson on Comment: Cowardly Clegg - and his attempt to distract attention from his own links to the Murdochs

Tory Diary: The Government is wrong to U-turn on the pasty tax

Screen shot 2012-05-29 at 12.12.40Dr Eamonn Butler on Comment: It's Tax Freedom Day today. Yes, for almost five months you've been working just to pay taxes.

Local Government: 

The Deep End: How the internet eats the economy


George Osborne backs down on pasty (and caravan) tax

Sun_290512"Pasties and other bakery items will no longer attract Vat if they are “cooling down” after being removed from the oven. The Chancellor controversially proposed in the budget that any food served above ambient temperature would be taxed at 20 percent to address an “anomaly” in the system. ... He also said that plans to tax static caravans at 20 percent will be altered. They will now attract Vat at a reduced rate of five percent from next April. Static caravans do not currently attract any Vat." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Pasty la vista, taxman" - The Sun
  • "The pasty rollover is a start. But the Government needs more bright ideas to regain voters’ trust. So as they are in the mood to listen to The Sun, here’s another bit of advice. Slash fuel duty." - The Sun Says
  • Pasty tax: U-turn 'a shambles' says Labour - BBC
  • A brief history of the pasty tax - Guardian
  • Osborne's got it wrong on the economy, warns public - Independent

Cameron in Eurozone contingency talks - Theresa May ready to suspend EU free movement rules if crisis causes migration

Cameron-eu"In the City, banks have been told to work out the legal and financial implications of various scenarios – ranging from a Greek exit from the eurozone to larger government defaults... [M]inisters are drawing up their own contingency plans; the Foreign Office is considering how it would help British tourists in Greece if the cashpoints ran dry and if disruption to ferry services left them stranded on Greek islands. Theresa May... has not ruled out some kind of suspension of the EU’s free movement rules if a crisis spreads across the eurozone triggering large-scale migration" - FT (£)

  • Cameron demands proof UK is ready for eurozone collapse as he summons Bank chief for crisis talks - Daily Mail

U-turn on secret court hearings

Clarke ken_small.ashx"Plans to introduce closed inquests with evidence heard in private have been dropped from the government's "secret justice" bill to be published on Tuesday following a dispute between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Government officials heralded the move as the main concession in one of the most controversial pieces of legislation contained in the Queen's speech. It follows a well-publicised row behind the scenes which delayed publication of the bill for almost a week." - Guardian

  • Lib Dems force Tory retreat in plan for private courts - Independent
  • "Victory for the Mail's campaign as Clarke says inquests WON'T be held behind closed doors" - Daily Mail
  • My plans were too broad. The Mail has done a service to the public interest - Ken Clarke for the Daily Mail
  • Government has made a move in the right direction - Sir Malcolm Rifkind for the Times (£)

Michael Gove and Theresa May to appear before Leveson

"Home Secretary Theresa May and Education Secretary Michael Gove are to appear before the Leveson Inquiry into media standards later. Mrs May faces questions over Scotland Yard's phone-hacking probe, and the closeness between the press and police. Mr Gove will be asked about his relationship with Rupert and James Murdoch, and other News Corps staff." - BBC

Warsi fights back over expenses

Warsi Cardiff"Baroness Warsi has asked the Lords Commissioner for Standards to examine allegations she claimed for accommodation while staying rent free with a party colleague. ... “I take these allegations very seriously," Warsi said yesterday in Malaysia, where she was on an official visit. “It’s why I said right at the outset that I would fully cooperate with any investigation,” she told ITV, denying that she had done anything wrong." - City AM

  • Charges with a whiff of a witch-hunt - Independent editorial

> From yesterday - WATCH: Baroness Warsi's landlord says he never charged rent

Bowing to Murdoch turned politics rotten, says Clegg as he launches attack on senior Tories

Clegg on Marr"Nick Clegg will today launch an attack on David Cameron and other senior Tories for their decision to ‘bow and scrape’ before Rupert Murdoch. The Deputy Prime Minister will condemn the behaviour of the Prime Minister and successive Labour leaders in what he terms Britain’s ‘broken establishment’.  He will condemn the ‘sordid spectacle of phone hacking’ and say cosying up to the media baron is evidence of the death of ‘clean politics’." - Daily Mail

  • Clegg: we must reform our broken establishment - Independent
  • "The deputy prime minister’s team dismissed as “absolute madness” speculation that the party could bail out of the coalition months before the 2015 election and leave a minority Conservative government to struggle on until polling day." - FT (£)
  • Tax plastic bags across UK, Liberal Democrats say - Daily Telegraph

Blair denies striking deal with Murdoch

BLAIR Tony"Tony Blair defended his “working relationship” with Rupert Murdoch on Monday, insisting that it was a bond based on power but denying he had struck any deal with the media mogul. ... Mr Blair started his evidence by saying he had taken a strategic decision to “manage” but not confront a powerful media." - FT (£)

  • Leveson protester calls Tony Blair a 'war criminal' - The Sun
  • 'War criminal' protest makes mockery of courts' security system - Independent

> From yesterday - Blair confronted by heckler during Leveson evidence in security breach

Leveson comment

  • Blair Heckler Leveson"Blair at Leveson provided no revelations, and anyone who was expecting news should have known better" - John Rentoul for the Independent
  • "Labour's all-time winner stopped trashing his own legacy at the Leveson inquiry and reminded us of his great talents" - Polly Toynbee for the Guardian
  • "A political generation grew up in Tony Blair’s shadow. But both Left and Right misunderstand what made him special" - Rachel Sylvester for the Times (£)
  • "Pull the other one, Tony. You let Murdoch shape policy" - Lance Price for the Independent
  • "Kid gloves and the damning questions Mr Blair WASN'T asked" - Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail

CSJ: scrap child poverty targets - Daily Telegraph

Richer pensioners should lose some benefits, says thinktank - Guardian

Teachers to strike again - after summer holidays - The Sun

Waltham Forest council scraps plans to relocate residents to Walsall - Independent

Male-dominated boards will fall behind rivals, says report - Daily Telegraph

Fifteen more university technical colleges to open in next two years - Guardian

  • At last, schools for getting your hands dirty - Lord (Kenneth) Baker for the Times (£)

Queen's-Speech-processionPoll says Britain has changed for the worse under Elizabeth II - Reuters

  • Our public service Queen has a lot to teach her failing politicians - Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - Columnist Bruce Anderson: The Diamond Jubilee is a time for rejoicing and gratitude

Spain says help not needed to save banks - FT (£)

  • Whatever Rajoy says, more Spanish banks will need bailing out - Alistair Osborne for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday:


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