5pm Conservative News Links

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The row over the Government's Health Bill and reactions to a council meeting prayer ruling lead our teatime newslinks

Drop the Health Bill row


Bideford Council prayer ruling

  • Bideford council chamberRobert Kaye on Comment: If today's ruling is not appealed, the Government should give local authorities the power to hold prayers at council meetings
  • Local government: Government will ensure ban on prayers at council meetings is overturned
  • Eric Pickles: "Christianity plays an important part in the culture, heritage and fabric of our nation. Public authorities - be it Parliament or a parish council - should have the right to say prayers before meetings if they wish. The right to worship is a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty." - PolHome (£)
  • ReesMoggParliamentJacob Rees-Mogg MP: "It seems to me a peculiar judgement. If you think the legal year starts with a religious service, the Church of England – of which I’m not a member – is the established church, we have Bishops in the House of Lords, prayers before sittings of the Commons and the Lords and the Queen is crowned in a religious ceremony." - PolHome (£)
  • Andrew Selous MP: "I’m very disturbed to learn about this ruling I hope it is challenged and I for one would fight very strongly to keep prayers in the House of Commons and I hope no one thinks of a legal challenge to the leader or the House for having prayers." - PolHome (£)
  • Labour MP Chris Bryant: "It can’t affect the Commons because the biggest quibble is local authorities don’t have the power of competency. He [the judge] is saying that people should not allowed to pray; well in that sense they shouldn’t be able to drink water, even though they do in meetings" - PolHome (£)
  • There's something very un-English about the secular zealots fighting council prayers - Ed West

Greek austerity

Greek protests

  • "There is only one way of interpreting the set of fresh demands tabled by eurozone finance ministers last night in return for agreeing a new €130bn bailout for Greece – that they are now quite deliberately trying to push Greece out of the euro." - Jeremy Warner
  • "Euro-zone finance ministers didn't approve a second bailout that Greece needs to stay afloat, saying Greece's parliament must first approve the new austerity measures before they will sign off on the loan deal. Meanwhile, some major unions in Greece protested the austerity measures that the country's political leaders had agreed on by launching a 48-hour strike." - WSJ Europe (£)
  • "Thousands of striking Greek workers have marched to parliament to demonstrate against wage cuts included in a new €3.3bn austerity package that eurozone finance ministers rejected as incomplete on Thursday." - FT (£)
  • "Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Marilisa Xenogiannakopoulou, a member of the Pasok socialist party, resigned her post" - Bloomberg
  • For Greece this is only be the beginning - Mats Persson

In Brief:

  • "David Cameron has hit back at Argentina over its plans to protest against British "militarisation" of the Falklands, saying islanders would have London's backing for as long as they wished to remain British." - ITN
  • Ed Miliband's new definition of the "squeezed middle" - LabourList
  • Tax breaks for domestic staff? Does David Cameron really want to subsidise the butler? - Cristina Odone