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November 2012 newslinks

30 Nov 2012 08:28:20

Newslinks for Friday 30th November 2012

7.15pm Local government:

6.15pm ToryDiary: Is Boris the Kevin Pietersen of politics?

5pm MPsETC: CCHQ announces the next ten of its forty target seats

4.30pm WATCH: Boris on his bike...in India

4pm On Thinkers Corner, Roger Scruton reflects on the Rotherham adoption scandal: "Here were abandoned children being offered not just a home but a way into the surrounding society, a way of being normal and protected members of a successful historical community, the very community that granted protection in our formative years to you and me. It is precisely that positive result that horrified the social workers, and caused them to fall back on their fundamental axioms, which are not positive but negative."

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3pm MPsETC: Four recent Ministers get an Exit Interview from ConservativeIntelligence

1.30pm David T Breaker on Comment: There must be an investigation into the Sgt Nightingale case

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 13.35.5911am ToryDiary: George Osborne appoints Neil O'Brien as new adviser and opens door to a more blue collar, northern conservatism

10.30am Mark Field MP on Comment: Some electoral lessons from Chicago...and Croydon

9.30am ToryDiary: UKIP's threat to...Labour?

Three pieces on Leveson lead ConservativeHome:

And then there is next week's Autumn Statement:

Yesterday's by-elections - Labour win, UKIP soar

1) Labour hold Rotherham, UKIP second, Conservatives fifth, Liberal Democrats…eighth, behind English Democrats

Miliband Ed Official"In Rotherham, support for UKIP, the BNP and Respect pushed the Conservatives into fifth place, and the Liberal Democrats into eighth.  The Rotherham Labour candidate Sarah Champion won the by-election, which was caused by the resignation of Denis MacShane after a report condemning him for abusing expenses. Ms Champion secured 9,866 votes — a 5,178 majority on a turnout of 34 per cent. The party had earlier said it expected a victory margin of around 4,000." - The Times (£) 

By-elections 2) Labour hold Middlesbrough, UKIP second, Tories fourth behind LibDems

"Labour stormed to a second by-election victory in Middlesbrough, with Andy McDonald securing 10,201 votes. UKIP’s Richard Elvin came second on 1,990 votes — with the Lib Dems third and Tories fourth." - The Sun 

By-elections 3) Labour hold Croydon North, Conservatives second, UKIP third

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 08.23.33Labour won their third byelection of the night in Croydon North, where Steve Reed was declared the winner with 15,898. The Conservatives won 4,137 votes, and Ukip came third with 1,400. - The Guardian

  • Alan Titchmarsh: Tories are losing their connection with the countryside - Daily Telegraph

Cameron side-steps Clegg, ignores Miliband, buries Leveson...and prepares to defy the Commons majority for statutory regulation.  The judge departs for Australia.

Leveson 1) Prime Minister: I cherish press freedom

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 07.44.28
"David Cameron moved swiftly to kill off the key proposal of the long-awaited Leveson report yesterday when he voiced severe doubts about new laws to regulate the Press. The Prime Minister put himself at odds with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband in signalling he would not “cross the Rubicon” of using legislation to underpin a new regulator. Instead, he gambled that the Press would itself quickly embrace the principles laid out by Lord Justice Leveson." - The Times (£)

  • Prime Minister rejects Davey choice as Climate Change Department Permanent Secretary - Financial Times (£)

Leveson 2) Bercow grants Clegg separate Commons statement.  LibDem leader agrees with Leveson over regulation, parts company with him over the regulator

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 07.48.10"Mr Clegg suggested he supported changing the law, insisting it was 'the only way to guarantee' that the media was kept in check. He said a free Press 'does not mean a Press that is free to bully innocent people' and 'destroy lives'. However, he echoed Mr Cameron's concern about any involvement for Ofcom and the proposed tightening of data protection rules." - Daily Mail

  • Communications Data "Snoopers charter" Bill may be sunk by LibDems - Daily Mail

Leveson 3) Miliband backs the entire report, which he can't have had time to read

"The PM’s stand also left him at loggerheads with Labour boss Ed Miliband, who demanded the report be implemented “in its entirety”. He added there could be “no more last chance saloons”. The Opposition leader told Mr Cameron he would try to persuade him of the need for the law in cross-party talks set up to search for a consensus. And Mr Miliband revealed he will force a vote in the Commons in January, or even before the end of the year if he could, adding: “We must act.” - The Sun 

Leveson 4) Jeremy Hunt is cleared (Will Bryant apologise?  Will he hell...)

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 07.53.44"Mr Hunt had been criticised by opponents for allegedly being “too close” to an executive from tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s company. But Lord Leveson found “no credible evidence of actual bias on the part of Mr Hunt” while playing a quasi-judicial role in the botched £8billion broadcast deal…Mr Hunt, who is now Health Secretary, said: “I welcome the fact the report states that not only was there no evidence of bias on my part in the handling of the BSkyB bid but that I put in place robust systems to ensure it would be handled impartially." - Daily Express

Leveson 5) Cameron to draft statutory regulation bill just to prove "how complicated it was"

"The talks with Ed Miliband, Labour leader, and Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, lasted less than 30 minutes. Mr Cameron promised to draft a bill on press regulation, but his allies said it was just to prove “how complicated it was”. He hopes the press will immediately set up a new regulator – independent of the industry – to reassure a highly sceptical public and prove that it is serious about rectifying serial malpractice which culminated in the phone hacking scandal." - Financial Times (£)

Brown Hands UP
Leveson: politics

  • "No evidence" of News International deal with Cameron.  Brown allegations slapped down.  All recent Prime Ministers "too close" to media and Salmond too accommodating to Murdoch - The Times (£)
  • Salmond wants to implement Leveson in Scotland, is told to quit talks on the report after judge's criticisms of him - Scotsman

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 08.04.13Leveson: papers

  • Verdict on papers: Telegraph "surprising" over Cable.  Times displayed "a lack of objectivity".  Dacre unwilling "to entertain the idea that each of these stories might have been hurtful".  Richard Desmond "very disturbing".   Guardian's "gravamen" praised - Daily Telegraph

Leveson: police

  • Blunders not corruption led to bungled police response - The Independent
  • Judge's bonkers plan to stop off-the-record police briefings - Daily Telegraph

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 08.05.32Leveson: campaigners

  • Press victims, celebrities accuse Cameron of 'ripping heart and soul' out of Leveson inquiry - The Guardian
  • Press freedom campaigns warn of Leveson "slippery slope" - The Guardian

Leveson: In the Commons

  • "Nearly every Tory MP other than Malcolm Rifkind, including significant names such as David Davis, John Whittingdale and Peter Lilley, gave solid support to Mr Cameron" - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • "If David Cameron has his way, the last chance saloon, far from being closed, is to be refurbished – with exciting new decor, a wide range of guest beers, and an all-day menu with tempting platters for sharing" - Simon Hoggart, The Guardian
  • Jeremy Hunt was wearing a smile as big as a banana - Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

Leveson: In his own words

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 08.06.35Judge flies out to Oz - The Independent

Leveson: The Editorials

Leveson: The Commentators

Spectator Editor reprieved from threat of jail term

Fraser Nelson"The moment of maximal danger for Britain’s press freedom lasted for precisely 99 minutes: the time between Lord Justice Leveson’s report being published, and the Prime Minister rejecting its most illiberal recommendations. It is as well the weighty tome was delivered to No 10 a day early, because it took quite a piece of investigative journalism to get to the bottom of it. It was clear the judge wanted Ofcom, the television regulator, to take the press into its purview. As the Prime Minister explained to his colleagues, this would create a tool that could be ratcheted up later on. Its very existence would be an affront to British liberty." - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Britain's "preppers" stockpile food, petrol, arms and even condoms as they prepare for apocalypse  - Daily Mail (But, Fraser, it's safe to come out now.)
  • A rotten day for freedom - Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • Lord Justice Leveson is right: the press cannot any longer expect to mark its own homework; but neither should the rich and powerful - Philip Stephens, Financial Times (£)
  • Cameron sides with the press - Steve Richards, The Independent
  • A clever report - but why the silence on Murdoch and ownership? - Harold Evans, The Guardian
  • The press Leveson wants to regulate soon won’t exist on paper. By ignoring the web, his proposals are out of date - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

Coulson and Brooks charged in court - Daily Express

Investigative journalists who breach data protection rules could be jailed - Daily Mail

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Biggest fall in immigration for 20 years

"Migration into Britain has seen the biggest fall in 20 years, official figures revealed yesterday. A total of 536,000 foreigners came to live here in 2011, 42,000 fewer than the year before. The drop was the biggest since immigration went down by 61,000 during the 1991 recession. The numbers entering Britain were the lowest since 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Eastern European workers were allowed in." - Daily Mail

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 04.57.44
"When this Government came to power we said we would get migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. Today’s figures mark the latest step towards achieving that goal and finally getting immigration under control." - Theresa May, Daily Express

  • Police to investigate website trading university scholarships for sex - The Independent

> Yesterday: Tory Diary - Net migration falls by a quarter in a year

Energy bill: You will pay best part of £200 a year to fund green power

"Families will see fuel bills rise by £170 while heavy industries enjoy a tax break, it was revealed last night. Energy Secretary Ed Davey said “energy-intensive” firms would be exempt from extra costs created by the Government’s new green targets. But consumer groups warned families would pick up the tab by paying more for their gas and electricity. The tax break, unveiled yesterday as the new Energy Bill was finally published, was vital to prevent firms relocating abroad, said Mr Davey." - The Sun

Boris goes to Bollywood

Screen shot 2012-11-30 at 08.38.57"At a party on Wednesday Mr Johnson boasted of meeting a famous Bollywood actress on the flight to Mumbai – only cheerfully to admit he hadn’t the faintest idea who she was. Then there was the article with which he kicked off the visit in which he described ogling a pretty woman in the back of a Jaguar in New Delhi, an experience that brought about a “surging sense of hope”…This is the first of a spate of foreign trips, which many see as a bid to raise the mayor’s profile ahead of a move to usurp David Cameron at the helm of both the Tory party and the country." - Financial Times (£)

UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly for Palestinian statehood. Britain abstains - The Guardian

> Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP on Comment - What exactly is the UN voting for when it comes to the establishment of another Palestinian State?

West Coast main line official says that she is being targeted for "political reasons" - Financial Times (£)

NHS will pay for music lessons - The Times (£)

SAS Sniper Danny Nightingale, jailed for 'illegally possessing' Iraqi gift pistol, has his sentence quashed - Daily Mail

A cold coming we had of it: Arctic freeze on its way  - Daily Express
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29 Nov 2012 08:30:14

Newslinks for Thursday 29th November 2012

6pm LEVESON UPDATE: No evidence, no deal — how the Leveson Report clears Jeremy Hunt and the Tory leadership

5pm LEVESON UPDATE: Now that Nick Clegg has lined up with Ed Miliband, the long political slog begins

4pm LEVESON UPDATE: The full text of David Cameron's statement

3.30pm Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Make no mistake, the Leveson Report will mark a watershed for the Press, whether or not its recommendations are adopted

3.15pm LEVESON UPDATE: David Cameron says that he has "misgivings" about the statutory elements of the Leveson Report

3pm LEVESON UPDATE: Five quick points about the Leveson Report

1.15pm CONSERVATIVEHOME'S ROLLING LEVESON BLOG

1pm ToryDiary: Net migration falls by a quarter in a year

AL1pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Responding to Leveson — why is "no change" not an option?

12.15pm Mark Florman on Comment: Tackling poverty benefits the nation as well as the poor

11am ToryDiary: It has never been harder to be a Whip

10.30am Robert Halfon MP on Comment: What exactly is the UN voting for when it comes to the establishment of another Palestinian State?

9.15am ToryDiary: There are moral, economic and political reasons to cap payday loan charges — so it's good news that the Government plans to do so

ToryDiary: Not the big state. Not the small state. But the affordable state.

Columnist Andrew Lilico: International risks - both good and bad - for the UK economy

NewspapersOn Comment, two Tory MPs write about the Leveson Report:

Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: Why should young people stand for council?

The Deep End: At last, a serious challenge to our medieval system of higher education

The day of the Leveson Report 1): Can David Cameron and Nick Clegg agree a unified response?

Cameron Clegg"The Coalition was heading for an unprecedented split last night after David Cameron and Nick Clegg clashed over the future of Press regulation. ... Mr Clegg was said to be 'actively pushing' for new laws to regulate newspapers – a move that would end 300 years of Press freedom. Mr Cameron, however, is understood not to want to back any 'Leveson law' at this point." - Daily Mail

  • And Alex Salmond wants separate press regulation for Scotland - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: 

The day of the Leveson Report 2): Mr Cameron looks to buy time

"The Prime Minister will try to buy time by saying that he wants to convene cross-party talks over the future of newspaper regulation as he responds to the Leveson report. ... The tone is in contrast to the intention expressed by No 10 last week that Mr Cameron would set a “direction of travel” when he addresses MPs this afternoon. The change in emphasis suggests that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations have placed the Government in an awkward position."  - The Times (£)

The day of the Leveson Report 3): Maria Miller rejects the PCC's proposals

MM"The culture and media secretary, Maria Miller, has told leading newspaper figures, such as Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, that their proposals for independent regulation are inadequate, too close to the industry and will need to be strengthened." - Guardian

The day of the Leveson Report 4): Boris stands up for a free press

"Today Lord Justice Leveson will be under huge pressure to propose some form of statutory control of the Press. ... I hope and pray that the Government will not take that step backwards. ... It is one of the glories of this country that we have a free, exuberant and sometimes feral media. ... They keep public life far cleaner than many other places in the world — and that makes this country a wonderful place to live and invest in. ... As for the journalists. Well, we already have a system of regulation. It is called the law." - Boris Johnson, The Sun

The Sun's spread also features contributions from Lord Coe, John Whittingdale, Louise Mensch and others.

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Boris points in all directions at once

The day of the Leveson Report 5): Peter Lilley says that the victims of phone-hacking shouldn't set the rules

Peter Lilley"He said he had 'infinite sympathy' for the likes of Bob and Sally Dowler, who found that the News of the World had hacked the phone of their murdered daughter Milly. ... But he said it was 'wrong in principle' for them to have a say on the future of press regulation when the crimes committed against them are covered by existing laws." - Daily Telegraph

The day of the Leveson Report 6): The Spectator becomes the first publication to say it will not take part in a statutory regime

"If the press agrees a new form of self-regulation, perhaps contractually binding this time, we will happily take part. But we would not sign up to anything enforced by government. If such a group is constituted we will not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces." - Spectator editorial

The day of the Leveson Report 7): Doubts over polling - Daily Mail 

  • And YouGov's Peter Kellner provides his analysis of the data - Peter Kellner, YouGov website

And it's by-election day, too: UKIP and Respect hoping to beat the Tories in Rotherham

"UKIP and Respect hope to leapfrog the Tories and the Lib Dems and eat into Labour’s 10,000-vote majority by exploiting an anti-politics sentiment that has been exacerbated by an unpopular council, a disgraced MP and scandals over fostering and child sexual exploitation. ... UKIP calculates it can score its best ever result at a Westminster election, surpassing the 17.4 per cent of the vote claimed by its leader Nigel Farage in Buckingham at the last general election." - The Times (£)

  • Could this be Ukip’s day? - Harry Wallop, Daily Telegraph
  • "The Tories flirting with Ukip are feeling the siren lure of unelectable purity" - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

The Government agrees to cap payday loan rates

"Extortionate interest rates charged by payday loan sharks will be capped after the Government agreed to change the law. ... Treasury ministers backed a crackdown on the lenders who currently face no restrictions on what they charge, with some customers paying annual interest of more than 4,000 per cent. ... Labour MP Stella Creasy warned that her party could revive its amendment if the Government’s measure did not go far enough." - Daily Mail

William Hague: Britain will abstain from Palestine vote unless assurances are given

HAgue"Britain will not back a crucial UN vote to give a Palestinian state higher official status unless it unconditionally returns to peace talks with the Israelis. ... Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed that the government would abstain from today's vote as it had not yet received those guarantees." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: William Hague: Britain will abstain from tomorrow's UN vote if the Palestinians don't give assurances about the peace process

Rural campaigners attack Nick Boles's development plans - Daily Mail

  • "The reason why homes are not being built has less to do with the obduracy of selfish Nimbys, as Mr Boles appears to regard them, and more with the dearth of mortgage finance and a depressed market." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Nick Boles’s proposal for solving Britain’s housing shortage? Build beautiful

Michael Gove accused of "bully boy tactics" ... by a Tory council leader - Guardian

The average family's drinks bill could increase by £100 a year, under minimum-pricing plans

"A couple who drink the average amount will see their annual grocery bill rise by around £94 a year. ... The finding by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is a blow for the Government’s claim that the plan will target only binge drinkers. ... Yesterday, it also emerged that Brussels may deem the scheme illegal, as European officials wrote to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, to warn that Scotland’s own minimum price plan may contravene EU rules." - Daily Mail

  • "This new measure means that millions of responsible Britons who like to drink in moderation and who have never hit a policeman or had any drink-related illness will also be punished financially." - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

Pro-green Tories (and Lib Dems) are considering a rebellion over the Energy Bill

Wind turbine"The Bill, which is published tomorrow, is expected to fall short of demands by environmentalists that it should commit the UK to cut carbon emissions produced by generating electricity to a specified level by 2030. ... But in a move which will dismay Conservative ministers a cross party group of MPs led by the members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee are considering tabling an amendment to the Bill to re-introduce the commitment." - Independent

  • Households could be given cash back if they reduce their energy consumption - Daily Telegraph
  • The chief executive of the world's biggest wind farm company warns the Government that it is jeopardising energy investment - Guardian

More Tory demands for a marriage tax break — as the Government releases an app to help couples who want to separate

"Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said next week’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne is ‘absolutely the last opportunity’ for the Government to show it regards marriage as important and that it means to stand by its promise. ... The decision to produce the ‘Sorting out Separation’ app appeared to send the Coalition’s policy in a different direction." - Daily Mail

"Coldness, resentment, indifference and contempt" — Jeremy Hunt on how patients are treated in some hospitals and care homes

Hunt"In a speech fiercely critical of the services he controls, Jeremy Hunt said that in the worst institutions there was a ‘normalisation of cruelty’ where appalling treatment was ignored by senior managers. .. He spoke of a ‘crisis in standards of care’, adding that hospital and care home bosses who allowed poor care should be sacked." - Daily Mail

  • Young children were put on the Liverpool Care Pathway too, according to reports - Daily Mail
  • NHS Trust criticisaed for signing an unaffordable PFI contract - Guardian

> Yesterday, by Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: Keep the EU out of our NHS

Home Office fears "another Litvinenko"

"Police are investigating after the body of Alexander Perepilichny was discovered in the grounds of his home in Weybridge. Mr Perepilichny had passed vital documents to campaigners fighting to expose a massive tax fraud in Russia that had led to the death of an anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. ... A senior government figure told The Times that the Government was urgently trying to establish whether it had “another Litvinenko” on its hands. ... Dominic Raab demanded yesterday that detectives be given full resources to discover the cause of Mr Perepilichny’s death." - The Times (£)

Thousands of students from outside the EU may have been allowed to stay in the UK illegally - The Sun

Ministers under fire over failling university applications

"The number of students in England applying to university has slumped by almost 10 per cent amid the increase in tuition fees. ... It follows a 15.2 per cent fall the previous year, with one expert declaring that 'alarm bells should be ringing in government'." - Daily Mail

DWP responds to "under-employment" figures - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

The Department for Transport delays the publication of its West Coast Main Line report - Financial Times (£)

Helen Grant's husband resigns from her office after a row with other staff over sick pay - Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: The PM’s haughty disregard of his own party is reminiscent of Tony Blair at his peak

Peter Oborne"The Prime Minister desperately needs a first-class whipping operation, and is starting to pay a heavy price for his very culpable failure to pay attention to party management. A significant minority of MPs are no longer frightened to rebel: certainly more than 42, the number needed to mount a leadership challenge. Before long it will be too late." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

Chris Giles: It's time for the Chancellor to be honest

"...better a dull chancellor seeking to embed credibility in his spending and tax plans than a showman hoping to divert the public’s attention from the true, awful state of the economy. ... In this vein, there is no need for the chancellor to set a new target date for the burden of debt to be falling, one of the fiscal rules he said he would live by. Setting himself a new date for such a rule would provide little benefit until some of the economic uncertainty is lifted." - Chris Giles, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair on the "virus" of Euroscepticism

"‘The Right have got it really bad on this Europe thing,’ he told business leaders at Chatham House in London. ‘It is a kind of virus that makes you want to take positions for the sake of asserting them, when a rational analysis says you don’t need to be in that position.’" - Daily Mail

Ed Balls warns that there's no consensus over bank reform

Ed balls"Ed Balls has fired a warning shot against George Osborne over bank reform by warning that there was no 'consensus' over the issue and a Labour government could still carry out a Glass-Steagall-style separation if the industry did not change its culture voluntarily." - Financial Times (£)

"Urine seems to be pouring through the ceiling into my Commons office," tweets Ben Bradshaw - Daily Mail

Neil O'Brien: National politics no longer has anything to say about the north of England

"Westminster politicians have repeatedly promised to close the North-South gap, but failed because they ignored economic reality, and flushed our money away on stupid gimmicks. No wonder northern voters think politicians ignore them and don’t understand them. Unless we change direction, it’s going to become ever harder to refer honestly to ‘one nation’: because our country will steadily come apart." - Neil O'Brien, The Spectator

The Archbishop of Westminster urges politicians to reach a solution on social care - Daily Telegraph

The wife of Sergeant Danny Nightingale is to present a 100,000 signature-strong petition, calling for his release, to a judge - The Sun

Not all of the evidence gathered during the BBC's Newsnight/Savile review will be made available to licence fee-payers - Daily Mail

And finally... Liz Truss, the human hand grenade

Grenade

"I’ve heard her nickname in the department is the human hand grenade. When I ask why, her response shows the hand grenade in action. ... ‘Well, there are two civil servants in this meeting,’ she says, turning to the press officers with us. ‘Maybe they can elucidate?’ One looks uncomfortable and says: ‘I’m not being interviewed!’ ‘That’s a Jeremy Paxman-style answer,’ says Truss and turns to the other, who says quietly, ‘I’ll leave it to you.’ ... ‘Maybe,’ she says, ‘it’s because I put civil servants on the spot.’" - From James Forsyth's interview with Liz Truss in the Spectator

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28 Nov 2012 08:37:14

Newslinks for Wednesday 28th November 2012

5.30pm WATCH: William Hague: Britain will abstain from tomorrow's UN vote if the Palestinians don't give assurances about the peace process

4pm Tom Frostick on Comment: Osborne must target wealth in the Autumn Statement

3.45pm ToryDiary: The politics of Leveson are likely to rumble on and on

PMQs2.15pm WATCH: Today's session of PMQs in full

2pm ToryDiary: David Cameron uses PMQs to attack “something for nothing” Miliband

12.30pm ToryDiary: Nick Boles’s proposal for solving Britain’s housing shortage? Build beautiful

10.45am Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: Keep the EU out of our NHS

ToryDiary: George Osborne should ditch his fiscal rules

BorisAlso on ToryDiary: Boris points in all directions at once

Columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

Dr Phillip Lee MP on Comment: When it comes to Germany, yesterday should be no guide for tomorrow

MPsETC: 86 parliamentarians (including 42 Tories) write a letter in defence of press freedom

Cllr Katharine Harborne on Local Government: Tesco no longer such a dirty word in Richmond

The Deep End: Rudyard Kipling was a better economist that Gordon Brown

86 MPs and peers warn against state regulation of the press...

"In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 86 politicians from all three major parties urge David Cameron not to bring in new press laws if Lord Justice Leveson recommends state regulation on Thursday. ... Dozens of senior Conservatives have signed the letter, including Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, Lord Howell, George Osborne’s father-in-law, Stephen Dorrell, a former Health Secretary, David Davis, a former Europe minister..." - Daily Telegraph 

  • "Regulation would make editors even more wary of publishing stories which upset the Establishment." - David Davis, Daily Mail
  • "Don’t take a chainsaw to press freedom" - Dominic Raab, Daily Telegraph

> Today on MPsETC: 86 parliamentarians (including 42 Tories) write a letter in defence of press freedom

> Yesterday:

...ahead of a potential Coalition split over Leveson

Cameron Clegg"David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister and Nick Clegg, his Liberal Democrat deputy, have been preparing to make separate statements about the Leveson report on journalistic ethics, due out on Thursday. ... Mr Cameron is considering taking on his Lib Dem coalition partners, the Labour opposition and dozens of his own MPs by giving newspapers one last chance to prove that the sector can be effectively regulated without new legislation." - Financial Times (£)

A YouGov poll suggests that 79% of the public would prefer an independent press regulator established by law - Guardian

Warnings on growth for George Osborne...

Downturn"Hopes for recovery were dealt a fresh blow yesterday after leading economic experts sharply reduced their forecast for next year’s growth to below 1 per cent. ... The influential Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had predicted in May that GDP would rise by 1.9 per cent in 2013. ... Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, added to fears that Britain is in danger of re-entering recession, saying that the economy was at a ‘tipping point’." - Daily Mail

  • David Cameron and Mr Osborne should stick to the course - Daily Mail editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: George Osborne should ditch his fiscal rules

...a report that ministers are turning on each other over the economy...

"At the cabinet meeting, Mr Osborne gave a growth presentation that pointed to slow progress in providing high-speed internet access across the UK, in spite of the scheme receiving £530m of government cash to match private investment. ... Maria Miller, culture secretary, said Mr Osborne’s information was 'out of date'. ... The chancellor also clashed with Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, by highlighting that the Work Programme had found sustained jobs for just 2 per cent of those participating in its first year." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: George Osborne's economic narrative is taking shape

...as the Treasury is accused of undermining the independence of the Bank of England

HMT"A former top official told the FT that BoE independence had always been 'an elaborate veneer'. Under this view, giving an outsider a mandate to shake-up the central bank demonstrates just how thin the cloak of independence really is against a determined chancellor." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Greg Clark MP on Comment: Mark Carney is the best central banker in the world and we've got him for Britain

David Cameron promises a "tough approach" in negoatiations with insurers, after the floods

"Up to 200,000 high risk properties are at risk of being priced out of affordable cover when a deal struck in 2000 between the then Labour government and insurers ends next summer. The Government has been in talks for two years but as yet an agreement has not been reached. ... 'I'm sure we will do a deal,' Mr Cameron said. 'We are in negotiations at the moment. ... We need to take a tough approach frankly.'" - Daily Mail

And he still wants to get tough on cheap alcohol, too

Beer“Two-for-one deals on cheap booze in supermarkets and off-licences face the axe under plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol announced today. … The Government plans to impose a minimum price of 45p per unit, slapping an extra 70p on the price of some bottles of wine and an additional £1.30 on a two-litre bottle of cider, in a bid to stamp out binge-drinking. … David Cameron wants to end loss-leader discounting, whereby supermarkets sell alcohol at a loss to entice shoppers into their stores.” - Daily Mail

Have Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg reached agreement on social care funding?

"Senior sources have told The Telegraph that there is a growing belief that the money will be found to reform social care funding, which has been one of the most controversial domestic policies for decades. ... The plan will be modelled on recommendations published in 2011 from the economist, Andrew Dilnot, whose government commission proposed a cap of between £25,000 and £50,000." - Daily Telegraph

  • "At last a Coalition with no great track record of caring for the sick, the old and the infirm appears to be on the verge of completing the Beveridge revolution." - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

Yesterday's Work Programme numbers continue to disappoint

"Only three in every hundred people who took part in a “back-to-work” scheme has found a steady job, the Government was forced to admit yesterday. ... The results are a big embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who faced calls to scrap the scheme, and the former employment minister Chris Grayling, recently promoted to Justice Secretary." - The Times (£)

  • "It’s easy for Labour to knock the Government’s welfare-to-work programme. ... But if the Government didn’t try to stimulate employment, Labour would rightly complain." - Sun editorial
  • Study suggests that over 1 million working households will be £1,248 a year worse-off under Universal Credit - The Sun

> Today, by Columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

> Yesterday:

Nick Boles says that the Government will protect the Green Belt — but open space may have to make way for housing

Boles"In comments that will alarm conservationists, Nick Boles said the amount of developed land may have to increase by up to a third to tackle the growing housing crisis. ... He told BBC Two’s Newsnight that ministers would protect the Green Belt - but warned that large areas of ‘open land’ may have to be given over for housing." - Daily Mail

Chris Grayling challenged over community orders

"The Justice Minister will be quizzed by the justice committee today about why he ignored the Ministry of Justice's own research findings when drawing up the sentences for the new community orders." - Guardian

Should schools be able to teach pupils about pornography and its dangers? Liz Truss says 'yes', Andrew Rosindell says 'no'

"[Ms Truss] said: ‘The Government wants all young people to have high quality, age appropriate sex and relationships education. ... The current non-statutory programmes of study for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which include sex and relationship education, can provide opportunities for schools to teach about pornography.’ ... ‘This is a matter for parents to make a judgement on,’ Mr Rosindell said. ‘I don’t think it is a matter for school teachers.'" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, byElizabeth Truss MP on Comment: Tackling the toddler achievement gap

Tories cite figures suggesting that two-thirds of Britain's millionaires departed Britain after the 50p rate was introduced

50p"While some 16,000 workers declared an income in excess of £1million in the 2009/10 tax year to HM Revenue and Customs, that number dropped to just 6,000 after then Prime Minister Gordon Brown brought in the new tax rules. ... Many now appear to be returning to the UK, with the number of £1million plus earners rising again to 10,000 since Chancellor George Osborne announced that the top tax rate would be reduced to 45p from next April as part of the Budget earlier this year. ... Tory sources [suggest] that the introduction of the 50p rate was an ‘ideological move’, which had cost the country billions of pounds." - Daily Mail

  • Amazon reveals that it made £3.35 billion of sales in Britain last year, and paid just £1.8 million in tax - Daily Mail

One of the officials supsended after the West Coast Main Line fiasco is suing the Department for Transport - Financial Times (£)

Lord Baker: Convert failing further education colleges into schools for engineers

"The Royal Academy of Engineering has estimated that we are short of 45,000 engineers a year; by 2020 we will be nearly 400,000 short. As the FE colleges will not provide this, urgent action is needed." - Kenneth Baker, The Times (£)

It's "bonkers" to give well-off pensioners Winter Fuel Allowance and free TV licences, says Baron Patten

"The Tory peer, who was education secretary from 1992 to 1994, added: ‘I do think that now is the time for the Chancellor to get rid of these things. ... There won’t be any political backlash at all – people think it’s bonkers, it’s barmy to do it, I certainly do. We shouldn’t be in that position.'" - Daily Mail

  • The average home heating bill has hit £587, a 63 per cent rise since 2008 - Daily Mail

Baroness Warsi rapped by Lords watchdog over undeclared Wembley flat income

"The peer - formerly co-chair of the Conservative Party - has accepted the finding and apologised, and the matter is now regarded as closed, said the House of Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee in a report." - Daily Telegraph

UKIP achieve 11 per cent in the latest YouGov poll - The Sun

Vince Cable expresses his anger over faith schools

Cable"In a brief but irate missive to David Laws, the Lib Dem education minister, copied to the office of party leader Nick Clegg, Cable wrote: 'A serious problem has arisen whereby DfE officials, in evidence to a court case, appear to be acting in contradiction to the coalition agreement in relation to faith schools and contrary to the express intention of the Education Act 2011.' He concluded: 'Can you intervene with the department to rectify this situation?'" - Guardian

The late Liberal MP Cyril Smith should have been charged with sexual abuse, says CPS - The Times (£)

Labour might commit to giving 16- and 17-year-olds the vote

"Labour is preparing to include a commitment to lowering the voting age to 16 in its next general election manifesto as a way of engaging teenagers in the political process, one of Ed Miliband’s key allies has indicated." - Independent

BlairTony Blair to warn against Britain "falling away" to the margins of the EU - Guardian

Alice Thomson: Labour still runs the country

"Just look at the figures. More than 77 per cent of people with political backgrounds who were appointed to public bodies last year were aligned to Labour. Only 14 per cent were Tory and a mere 4 per cent were Liberal Democrats." - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

The Times has produced a guide to Hollyrood's expenses claims

"Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, sent a member of her staff on a training course to learn how to 'deal with difficult people' weeks after the Scottish Parliament election, while a Labour MSP has been reading up on Public Speaking and Presentation for Dummies, according to expenses claims published at Holyrood yesterday." - The Times (£)

In his first annual report, the new head of Ofsted critices the "postcode lottery" in schooling

"More than two million children attend under-performing schools amid a ‘postcode lottery’, Ofsted’s chief inspector revealed yesterday. ... Sir Michael Wilshaw said there were ‘completely unacceptable’ differences in standards, even within affluent suburbs where youngsters are let down by coasting schools." - Daily Mail

Think-tank warns of "cracks" in the NHS

“‘Cracks’ are starting to appear in the National Health Service with ‘accident and emergency waits rising and more hospitals in financial difficulty’, according to a report by the country’s leading healthcare think-tank.” - Financial Times (£)

Rail commuters face inflation-busting fare rises of 6 per cent in January - Daily Mail

Online dating businesses contributed £170 million to the UK economy last year - Daily Mail

And finally 1)... Daniel Finkestein shares the political lessons he's learnt from ten years of poring over football statistics

Old TraffordIncluding: "In politics most of what you see on the news makes very little impact on voters and doesn’t change how they vote. A simple model — one that looks at party leaders, basic positioning and personal disposable income — will tell you far more about what is likely to happen in an election than adding in lots of irrelevant details about who “won” last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions." - Daniel Finkestein, The Times (£)

And finally 2)... Even the Italian Prime Minister reckons that Britain should have an in/out referendum

"Britain must call a referendum on the 'fundamental question' of whether to stay in the European Union, the Italian Prime Minister said yesterday. Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner, said he was sure that British voters would answer: 'Yes please.'" - The Times (£)

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27 Nov 2012 08:30:53

Newslinks for Tuesday 27th November 2012

Liz Truss6pm Elizabeth Truss MP on Comment: Tackling the toddler achievement gap

6pm MPsETC update: Decision on Nadine Dorries delayed for at least one week

4.15pm Local government: Local authorities with the worst schools named and shamed

2pm WATCH: A welfare double-bill...

1.30pm ToryDiary: It’s too early to judge the Work Programme, but it isn't too early to worry

11.30am ToryDiary: "Goldfinger" Cameron V "007" Gove

10.45am: LeftWatch: Be careful what you wish for, Conservative MPs who want statutory press regulation

ToryDiary: Grassroots message to Cameron --- Don't offer Farage a pact. Offer voters an In/Out referendum

Also on ToryDiary: George Osborne's economic narrative is taking shape

6a00d83451b31c69e2017c3405a9e1970bIn the first of ConHome's Weekly Letters from a Treasury Minister, Greg Clark MP celebrates the recruitment of Mark Carney: "That’s why it’s important that for a position as important as Governor of the Bank of England, the very best person for the job is found. Right now, and even with the depth of talent within this country and within the Bank of England, that person is Mark Carney. To get 'the best for Britain', to use George Osborne’s phrase, we got the best in the world."

Neil Parish MP on Comment: Nothing is getting easier in Zimbabwe yet the world is getting easier for Robert Mugabe

MPsETC: Most Tory members do not see Nadine Dorries as asset to party but view expulsion as overkill

Peter Cuthbertson on Local Government: Leveson must not reverse the trend towards localism

The Deep End: Social liberalism is ruining the life chances of white working class boys

WATCH: Mark Carney explains his decision to take the Bank of England job

George Osborne bags Mark Carney for the Bank

693278664"George Osborne brushed convention aside on Monday installing a foreigner, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of Canada, as governor of the Bank of England with a mission to shake it up as it assumes sweeping new powers." - Financial Times (£)

> Today's on ConservativeHome:

> From yesterday:

The newspapers respond to the Carney news in their editorials...

  • Mark Carney"The overwhelmingly positive reception to his appointment is testimony to the strength of his personal credentials for one of the toughest jobs in global finance." - Financial Times editorial (£)
  • "Most of all, this appointment sends out a powerful message to the world." - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "It is not difficult to see why the Chancellor was so determined to secure the impressively-qualified Mr Carney." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Yesterday, this newspaper published a long leading article stating that Paul Tucker was the best candidate to be the next Governor of the Bank of England. ... Well, oops. That was wrong. It is now clear that the best candidate was, in fact, Mark Carney." - Times editorial (£)
  • "Carney’s appointment is also a devastating judgment on the City." - Sun editorial
  • "A bold new governor might have started by lobbying the chancellor to rewrite his mandate, so that he could do something more useful than chase imported inflation which he cannot control."- Guardian editorial

...and on their comment pages

  • "It is a gamble because a foreign national will be assuming a job that is inescapably political and, in the current difficult economic and financial circumstances of the UK, even more political than usual." - Martin Wolf, Financial Times (£)
  • "That he plumped for Mark Carney, the first foreigner to run the BoE, is truer to the kind of politician Mr Osborne has become." - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times (£)
  • "To my great surprise, George Osborne has just pulled off an amazing hire." - Allister Heath, City AM
  • "How many other nations would entrust that responsibility to an outsider?" - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Quentin Letts: David Cameron's European crisis has passed

Cameron"'The EU institutions have got to adjust to the real world,' said our sleek man of foreign affairs. Mr Cameron enjoyed yesterday. He took questions from more than 50 MPs. Not one of them discombobulated him. His immediate European crisis has passed." - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

> From yesterday: 

54 per cent of people want to leave the EU, according to a new ComRes poll - Independent

Tory-UKIP rumblings 1): The PM isn't up for a pact

"David Cameron stood by his old denunciation that the UK Independence Party is mainly comprised of 'loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists; last night, after its leader said he would never form a pact with the Tories while the Prime Minister remained in charge." - The Times (£)

  • "There's no need for a UKIP pact" - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: Grassroots message to Cameron --- Don't offer Farage a pact. Offer voters an In/Out referendum

> Yesterday:

Tory-UKIP rumblings 2): Nigel Farage sets out his party's position

Nigel Farage"Until recently, anyone who dared raise the issue of mass migration was denigrated as a racist. And we have been accused of this time and time again, not least by the Prime Minister. It is not racist to ask questions of policy. We have taken these insults on the chin, but it is those who throw them that are prejudiced. Ukip is not." - Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph

  • "Don’t be fooled: UKIP is not a libertarian party" - Alex Massie, Spectator

> Yesterday:

Tory-UKIP rumblings 3): UKIP's Treasuer Stuart Wheeler has held talks with EIGHT Tory MPs to see whether they might defect

"Mr Wheeler admitted that he had been privately courting disaffected Tory MPs to see if they might be tempted into switching sides. ... He told The Daily Telegraph: “I have had lunch secretly if you like, in a completely confidential way, with eight different Tory MPs.” ... The figure is twice as many as were previously thought to have to be in talks with Ukip about defecting." - Daily Telegraph

Mr Cameron is set to finalise the timetable for pulling out of Afghanistan

Calendar"One scenario with widespread military support involves keeping troop numbers stable at 9,000 until September next year, the end of the next 'fighting season', and then withdrawing 8,000 personnel over the following 12 months. ... That would leave about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014 for training, logistical support and protecting supply lines." - Guardian

Rachel Sylvester: We're about the see the true face of Cameron's Britain

"From press regulation to banker’s remuneration, wind farms to women bishops, the decisions being made at the moment will determine what sort of country Britain becomes over the next few years." - Rachel Sylvster, The Times (£)

Boris urges Dave to rethink his student visa curbs

"Boris Johnson stepped up his criticism during a visit to India: there has been a sharp fall in the number of Indian students applying to British higher education bodies. He said the Government 'needs to think what they are doing' or risk losing increasingly lucrative business to other countries." - The Times (£)

  • "The London Mayor has many talents. But on immigration he speaks with a forked tongue." - Sun editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Boris attacks the Government's immigration policy (again) 

Another Cabinet minister warns against statutory regulation of the press; this time it's Owen Paterson

OP"Mr Paterson said: ‘I’m reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who said: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” I go along with that wholeheartedly.’" - Daily Mail

  • And some Lib Dems join him, too - Daily Mail
  • As does the editor of the Times, in an article for his own paper - James Harding, The Times (£)
  • A senior aide to Clegg says "If we don't agree with Cameron [about Leveson], we are going to say so." - Guardian

> Today, by Peter Cuthbertson on Local Government: Leveson must not reverse the trend towards localism

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: If anyone believes that it can be business as usual in Fleet Street, there's shurely shome mishtake

BBC chairman Lord Patten criticises the corporation

"He said: ‘The tendency towards over-management comes from the sheer weight and numbers of senior people, their pay, their titles, their jargon. ... ‘I worry that this means those at the top of the organisation can become distracted – diverted from the job in hand and the central question of whether the programmes are good enough." - Daily Mail

The Indpendent News and Media group apologises to Lord Ashcroft - MSN News

The Government's Work Programme is off-target

"Unofficial figures released ahead of the government’s own results showed 71 per cent of those who joined the £5 billion Work Programme when it started in June 2011 had not found employment by September this year." - Daily Telegraph

More will be done to rate hospitals and care homes, pledges Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt"Under the plans, there will be separate ratings for each individual care home, and probably for individual hospital departments rather than the whole institution. This will enable patients to know that while a hospital’s cardiology unit may be good, its maternity wards may be poor." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Jeremy Hunt on Comment: The four improvements I want to see in the NHS by 2015

And the Health Minister is "concerned" at an NHS edict that could mean free treatment for illegal immigrants

"All foreigners must be treated by GPs for FREE after an order slipped through by the Government, The Sun can reveal. ... Jeremy Hunt last night pledged to review the directive. ... He said: 'It clearly isn’t right that illegal immigrants could get free treatment on the NHS. We will do all we can to fix this abuse of the system.'" - The Sun

Michael Gove's free schools are "problematic", says Catholic educationalist

"Education Secretary Michael Gove’s flagship free school programme was rejected as ‘problematic’ by the Catholic Church yesterday. ... Greg Pope, deputy director of the Catholic Education Service (CES) for England and Wales, said there was a ‘perverse disincentive’ for the church to launch free schools." - Daily Mail

Nick Herbert (again) calls for Britain to quit the ECHR

Nick Herbert"For their part, apologists for the European Court say that if Britain pulls out, we will be an international pariah, having turned our back on human rights. ... But that’s nonsense. We will still apply the principles of the Convention on Human Rights, but through our own UK Bill of Rights, allowing for sensible interpretation that respects our democracy." - Nick Herbert, Daily Mail

  • A new showdown with Strasbourg over "life means life" jail sentences - Daily Mail

Norman Lamb orders an independent investigation into the Liverpool Care Pathway - Daily Mail

Vince Cable responds to a Guardian investigation into "secret property deals"

"'We are not complacent or naive. We recognise there are individuals who will seek to abuse or evade,' he said. 'We will investigate fully any specific allegations and ensure appropriate action is taken … If we identify a need for further action as a result of that review, we will not be afraid to take it.'" - Guardian

Labour attacks the Government over flood defence cuts - Guardian

Two-thirds of first-time buyers are relying on parental assistance - Daily Mail

And finally 1)... Michael White reviews the new Yes, Prime Minister TV series

YPM"The oldies will certainly be satisfied; younger viewers accustomed to the savagery of social media less so. Humour that relies more on manipulation of constitutional niceties and verbal dexterity is more demanding than the pyrotechnic effing and blinding of Peter Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker." - Michael White, Guardian

And finally 2)... Nadine Dorries fights back

"Arriving back in Britain on Monday after her stint in the Australian jungle, the Tory MP defended her decision saying she would 'do it again tomorrow', claiming she had missed only a few sitting days in Parliament. ... Ms Dorries said at Heathrow: 'I’ve had three sitting days away from Parliament. The rest has been over half-term. There are still MPs who have been away for two weeks.'" - The Times (£)

  • "Even if she repents, the offence she caused may be judged so grave that she may STILL get the boot." - The Sun

> Today on MPsETC: Most Tory members do not see Nadine Dorries as asset to party but view expulsion as overkill

> Yesterday, by columnist Bruce Anderson: Should Nadine have gone to Australia - or should that be: "should she have been allowed back"?

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