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31 Jul 2010 08:59:16

Weblinks for Saturday 31st July 2010

10.30pm ToryDiary: Liberal Democrats down to just 12%

6.30pm WATCH: David Miliband claims David Cameron's comments about Pakistan have "enraged people"

6pm Local Government: Camden Tories steal Lib Dem placards

12.45pm ToryDiary: Charity Director slams quango for bullying

Screen shot 2010-07-31 at 12.50.43 ToryDiary: Francis Maude declares the Coalition Government as more radical than Thatcher in her first term

Andrew Bridgen MP on Platform: Communities need to be protected from the effects of inappropriate opencast mining - as is already the case in Scotland and Wales

Seats and Candidates: Former MP Angela (now Baroness) Browning to co-chair the Board's Committee on Candidates

Gazette: Two more party vice-chairmen appointed; CCHQ appoints a Chief Operating Officer; More Board sub-committees announced

Local Government:

Mark Field MP on CentreRight: The looming threat of protectionism and just what it tells us about the path ahead

WATCH: Eric Pickles features in a BBC report on his plans to give people power to veto council tax rises  in local referendums

David Cameron to go on road to sell coalition

David Cameron at Cameron Direct "David Cameron is to spend the start of his summer holiday holding public meetings around the country in an attempt to win voters over to the Coalition Government. He will take part in a series of “PM Directs,” based on the successful “Cameron Directs” which he used in Opposition to give ordinary voters the opportunity to grill them on matters important to him. Other ministers, including Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and his fellow Liberal Democrat, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, will also be holding a series of public events during August, as part of a drive by the Government to dispel what they see as lingering doubts among the public about the Coalition." - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron is ready to engage with public over cuts - The Times (£)

Pakistan vents its anger at Cameron

"Diplomatic relations with Pakistan were dealt a severe blow last night when its powerful intelligence agency cancelled a visit to London and President Zardari wavered over an official trip to meet David Cameron. “The visit has been cancelled in reaction to the comments made by the British Prime Minister against Pakistan,” a spokesman for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) told The Times." - The Times (£)

David Cameron's outspoken comments about Pakistan smack of hypocrisy and grandstanding -  Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Cameron's approach to foreign relations is a breath of fresh air - Andrew Grice in The Independent

> WATCH: David Cameron defends his comments about Pakistan's record on "exporting terror"

Liam Fox's Atlantic Bridge forced to suspend activities

Picture 16 "A charity founded by Defence Secretary Liam Fox had to suspend business this week after a damning report by the Charity Commission found it had breached rules on political activity for seven years. Atlantic Bridge, which promotes relations between Thatcherite Tories and American neo-conservatives, was ordered to “cease immediately” all current activities and given a year to change its programme and appoint people from more diverse backgrounds to run its “educational” activities." - Tribune magazine

Tory dining clubs put defiance on the menu

"Soon after 6pm on Monday, September 6, David Cameron may find out just how far his party is prepared to go in support of the coalition government. Conservative backbenchers will congregate in a meeting room behind the Commons debating chamber to determine their response to that evening’s vote on a referendum bill for electoral reform. If they decide en masse to oppose it, or more likely, vote for one or more spoiling amendments, it is likely to bring the government’s first Commons defeat. And it will be largely down to a new spirit of co-operation among the party’s influential dining clubs." - FT

> Recent ToryDiary: The Tory Right in Parliament is getting its act together

Theresa May to roll out Sarah's law alert scheme

Theresa May Home Secretary "A "Sarah's Law" sex offender alert scheme is to be extended across the country, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will say tomorrow. The scheme, which gives parents the right to check with police if anyone with regular, unsupervised access to their children has a criminal conviction for child sex offences, will initially be spread to half the country after a successful pilot. Parents in 24 police force areas will be eligible by the end of the year with plans for the whole of England and Wales to be covered by next March." - Daily Telegraph

Andrew Lansley accused of U-turn on hospital cutbacks

"Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, has launched a stinging attack on health secretary Andrew Lansley's "U-turn" over his promises to reconsider the possible closure of hospital wards and accident and emergency departments." - The Guardian

Coalition faces Lib Dem revolt on free schools

Michael Gove pensive 2010 "September's Lib Dem conference in Liverpool will be a pretty tame affair, I predict, since most Liberal Democrats are still on cloud nine over the fact they are now in government for the first time in 65 years. The biggest controversy, I reckon, could well be over a motion denouncing Michael Gove's radical policies on free schools and academies. The resolution has been specifically picked by Lib Dem conference organisers for a substantial debate." - Michael Crick of BBC's Newsnight

Theresa Villiers condemns decision by Gove to refuse Academy status to a school in her constituency - The Guardian

Benefits for workers may be scrapped altogether in welfare revolution

"Ministers are considering scrapping benefits altogether for those who work, under radical proposals unveiled yesterday. They are looking at giving people simple income tax rebates rather than paying them a bewildering array of benefits and tax credits." - Daily Mail

Iain Duncan Smith on Breakfast "At least four Labour work and pensions ministers over the last couple of years thought a single benefit system was an excellent idea, but none of them could get past the challenge of the upfront costs of creating a new system and none of them, I suspect, had the appetite for the huge upheaval. So hats off to Iain Duncan Smith for taking on the challenge and for bringing these ideas forward." - Kate Stanley in The Guardian

"When individuals on benefit take a job the new policy will ensure that they will be at least 25 pence better off for every pound they earn. Superficially it sounds like a good idea. But it is likely to be very costly without achieving its intended effects. Work should be a personal and civic obligation, not something we will only do if we are incentivised by the Government." - David Green in the Daily Telegraph

"There are serious dangers in the Government's overall approach to benefits reform. The Chancellor, George Osborne, has said that he is looking for benefit reform to save considerable sums of money which can then be used to ease the burden on other government departments. But removing disincentives is likely to entail hefty up-front costs. And if it is done on the cheap, the most vulnerable are likely to suffer."  Independent editorial

Why must the middle classes be the hardest hit when his axe falls? - Paul Goodman in the Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The Treasury holds the key to Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform plan - the most radical simplification in modern times

> Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight yesterday: Turning aspirations to reform benefits into reality

> WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith explains the thinking behind his plans for welfare reform

The Daily Mail rails at MPs pre-election junkets

Aeroplane "MPs squandered hundreds of thousands of pounds on junkets to exotic locations during the dying months of the last government, the Daily Mail can reveal. They travelled to dozens of far-flung locations including Abu Dhabi, New York and Sao Paulo on ‘fact-finding’ missions for Commons committees. Ludicrously, many of the most frequent fliers were on committees whose remit is purely national. MPs on the Welsh affairs committee, for example, enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to the Baltic ports on ‘digital inclusion’." - Daily Mail

Richard Bennett: The asbo is an icon of New Labour's negligence - The Guardian

Simon Heffer: Our overseas aid bill could pay for Trident  - Daily Telegraph

Boris's bike plan hits the road

"A cycle hire scheme was launched in London yesterday with Mayor Boris Johnson hailing it as a "new dawn for the bicycle in the capital". The Barclays Cycle Hire project has 400 docking stations across central London which store 6,000 bikes in total." - The Sun

> Yesterday in Local Government: Boris launches cycle hire scheme

> WATCH: Boris Johnson talks to Sky News about London's new bike hire scheme

Politicians to face criminal trial over expenses claims

"Three former Labour MPs and a Conservative peer face criminal trials over alleged expenses fraud after the Appeal Court ruled that parliamentary privilege could not protect them from prosecution. David Chaytor, Elliot Morley, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield had argued that their cases should "lie within the hands of Parliament". - The Independent

Prescott doubted 'tittle-tattle' in Iraq invasion intelligence - The Guardian

> WATCH: Lord Prescott tells the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War he was nervous about the limited nature of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons

And finally... How the EU forces us to fly its flag

EU-FLAG "Whitehall has finally admitted that it is forced by law  -  on pain of fines  -  to boost European Union propaganda and fly the European flag. Until now, civil servants have been coy about confessing we may not even choose nowadays which flags to run up our state flagpoles. The Coalition is proving far more open about such matters. William Hague wants everyone to know about this outrage. His Foreign Office this week disclosed that we are compelled to fly the European flag, and promote the EU logo, owing to something called EC Regulation 1828/2006, Articles 7(2) and 9." - Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

30 Jul 2010 08:58:19

Weblinks for Friday 30th July 2010

7.00pm ToryDiary: David Cameron writes an end of term report

6.15pm WATCH: William Hague reflects on his visit to Herat in Afghanistan

3.45pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: Turning aspirations to reform benefits into reality

2.45pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

2.45pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's most important pronouncement from last night's BBC documentary

Picture 121.30pm WATCH:

12.45pm Seats and Candidates: Russell George to stand in Montgomeryshire at the Welsh Assembly election

11.45am Local government: Boris launches cycle hire scheme

10.30am WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith explains the thinking behind his plans for welfare reform

Iain Duncan Smith speaking

ToryDiary: The Treasury holds the key to Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform plan - the most radical simplification in modern times

Alec van Gelder and Timothy Cox on Platform: Opening up markets to competition will improve Africans' access to life-changing communications technology (whereas Western aid propping up telecommunications monopolies will not)

Local Government:

LeftWatch: Latest YouGov poll suggests David Miliband will still beat his brother for the Labour leadership



Osborne tells Fox he will have to find the money for Trident from the Defence Budget

Liam Fox Defence Secretary "Liam Fox has lost the first big battle of the Government’s spending review after George Osborne refused to help pay for a replacement for the Trident nuclear system. Mr Fox, the Defence Secretary, has been waging semi-public hostilities in Whitehall that have been aimed at forcing the Treasury to meet the start-up costs of a new nuclear deterrent. But Mr Osborne made clear yesterday that Mr Fox would have to find the money — about £20 billion over several years — from his own budget." - The Times (£)

"Defence sources have warned that the decision could lead to Britain’s nuclear deterrent being downgraded. In recent weeks Dr Fox has warned that the defence budget will be crippled if it is forced to pay the full cost of Trident." - Daily Mail

"Defence Secretary Liam Fox has warned of the risk of a "new nuclear arms race" as he defended the renewal of Trident as the most cost-effective way of maintaining Britain's deterrent." - Press Association

RAF Tornado fleet 'faces axe' in bid to save £7.5 billion - Daily Mail

Fox to appoint retired judge to head new inquiry into Chinook crash - Daily Record

David Miliband attacks Cameron over Pakistan comments

"David Cameron was yesterday accused of being a "loudmouth" by David Miliband, the former foreign secretary and Labour leadership contender, over his claims that elements of the Pakistani state are responsible for exporting terrorism abroad." - The Guardian

David Cameron defends 'frank' comments about Pakistan - BBC

> WATCH: David Cameron defends his comments about Pakistan's record on "exporting terror"

Lib Dems fear guilt by association with Osborne

Picture 10 "Liberal Democrat ministers have warned that the Conservatives will inflict lasting political damage to Nick Clegg's party if voters think the coalition Government is relishing the task of cutting public spending. Although the Cabinet has agreed to try to blame the cuts on its inheritance from Labour, senior Lib Dems are worried that some Tory politicians – including George Osborne, the Chancellor – give the impression they are on a Thatcherite mission to shrink the state." - The Independent

Clegg ally warns Osborne to tread carefully over cuts - The Herald

It now seems almost certain that Labour did NOT promise the Lib Dems voting reform without a referendum. So who lied to who?

"For many Conservative MPs  -  even those who have found themselves pleasantly surprised by how well the Coalition Government is working  -  the question has become all- consuming as they face the prospect of just such a referendum next May. Mystery surrounds the seismic events that unfolded on Monday, May 10  -  the day when Mr Cameron finally persuaded his party to back a deal with the Lib Dems that included voters getting the chance to decide whether Britain should adopt the alternative vote electoral system." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Nick Clegg seems to clear David Cameron of the charge of having lied to the '22 in order to form the Coalition

> Highlights from BBC2's review of the Coalition negotiations

Backbench Tory rebellion on AV referendum growing

BALLOT BOX 1 "The Tory backbench rebellion against electoral reform gathered pace yesterday, amid renewed claims that David Cameron was bounced into promising a referendum on the alternative vote system. More Conservative MPs are planning to oppose the referendum on changing the voting system for national elections, with their numbers now at 54." - Daily Mail

David Cameron looks to reassure backbenchers with letter of thanks

"David Cameron has reached out to disgruntled Tory MPs by writing an end-of-term letter in which he hails the coalition agreement for delivering key Conservative policies. Amid rising discontent, particularly on the right of the party, the prime minister thanked his MPs for their support as he reeled off a series of Conservative manifesto commitments now being delivered." - The Guardian

Cameron: I'm True Grit, not Brokeback - The Sun

Over 150 schools apply to become Academies

"About 150 top schools in England have applied to become academies. The schools want to opt out of council control and become funded by central government. The government had previously said about 2,000 schools had expressed an interest. It is thought dozens of schools will convert in September." - BBC

"Michael Gove, the education secretary, faced renewed attacks today when it emerged that only 153 schools had applied to become academies – despite his claims that more than 1,000 had done so." - The Guardian

A-Level reforms may cut number of pupils taking maths - Press Association

Second home owners to lose tax breaks - Daily Telegraph

Extremist who egged and abused Baroness Warsi is jailed

Warsi egged "A Muslim convert who pelted a Tory peer with eggs was jailed for six weeks yesterday. Gavin Reid, 23, targeted Baroness Warsi as Islamic extremists shouted abuse at her, including 'Cameron's bitch', in a 'planned and deliberate' confrontation." - Daily Mail

Jeff Randall's end-of-term report on the new class at Cabinet College

"Cable V - Exceptionally sulky. Clearly unhappy with new classmates; Clarke K - Mature student. Bad influence. Likes to smoke behind the bicycle sheds; Laws D -  Problem child. Expelled after pilfering petty cash from the tuck shop." - Jeff Randall in the Daily Telegraph

Paul Goodman: Which putative Labour leader would worry Tories the most?

"The leadership of the people's party, in a triumph of the hereditary principle, is being fought out between two scions of Labour's intellectual aristocracy. It's tempting to compare and contrast, but the task to be accomplished is within the grasp of either. Blair said of the Tory 2005 leadership contest that the candidates' backstory didn't matter, but where they were going did. What matters isn't which brother wins, it's whether either can beat this coalition by creating an electoral force with the breadth of the one that Blair used to crush the Tories for 13 years." - Paul Goodman writing for The Guardian

Boris Johnson to launch London's new bike hire scheme this morning - Press Association

Big spender Boris should spend a little less on Londoners like me - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

And finally... Has anyone seen the key to Ken Clarke's red box?

CLARKE HAPPY "Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke was forced to admit losing the key to his red box containing official papers as he took a day off to watch cricket at Trent Bridge. Mr Clarke said that officials at the Ministry of Justice would suspect him of faking the loss so he could enjoy the first day of England's Test match against Pakistan. But in a message to staff via BBC Radio's Test Match Special, he assured them: ''If they are in the office listening to this programme - honestly, if they send the key, I will do the papers tonight.'' - Daily Telegraph


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

29 Jul 2010 08:47:39

Weblinks for Thursday 29th July 2010

Screen shot 2010-07-29 at 21.27.25 10pm ToryDiary: Highlights from BBC2's review of the Coalition negotiations

6.30pm Latest on CentreRight:

3pm Local Government: Lib Dem councillor in Windsor and Maidenhead defects to Conservatives

PATEL PRITI2.45pm Parliament: Priti Patel uses her maiden speech to praise the Thatcherite free market policies which allowed small businesses to flourish

12.30pm Parliament: Stephen Metcalfe makes his Commons debut in support of the Academies Bill as Rory Stewart makes a second maiden speech

11.45am WATCH: David Cameron defends his comments about Pakistan's record on "exporting terror"

10.30am Jeremy Brier on CentreRight: There would be no blockade if the people of Gaza had set about building a peaceful and prosperous land (rather than electing brutal lawless Islamist terrorists)

10am Seats and Candidates: Three more Welsh Assembly candidates selected

Nick Clegg David Cameron Downing StreetToryDiary: Nick Clegg seems to clear David Cameron of the charge of having lied to the '22 in order to form the Coalition

Patrick Regan on Platform: Children need positive role models - in particular father figures - if they are to be deterred from getting involved in gangs

Seats and Candidates: Anthony Ridge-Newman to contest Gower at the Welsh Assembly election

Local Government:


Government to scrap default retirement age of 65 next year

"Workers will be able to stay in their jobs into their seventies under new rules to be announced by the Government. Ministers said they would end the “discrimination” of the Default Retirement Age, which allows companies to force staff out as soon as they turn 65. Personnel groups welcomed the move, which they claimed would boost productivity and improve employees’ freedom to shape their careers." - Daily Telegraph

State pension is not enough to live on, Lib Dem minister admits - The Independent

Michael Gove says 'rich, thick kids' do better than 'poor, clever children'

Michael Gove contrite Commons "'Rich thick kids' end up overtaking 'poor clever children' at school, Michael Gove said yesterday. The Education Secretary complained that success at school is still too closely linked to children's family background. Privately educated Mr Gove said a ' yawning gap' had opened up between the attainment of poorer youngsters and their wealthier peers." - Daily Mail

Gove backs creation of atheist schools - The Independent

Overweight people should be called "fat", not "obese", says Anne Milton

"Doctors and other health professionals should tell people they are “fat” rather than “obese”, a health minister said yesterday. Anne Milton said the term “fat” was more likely to motivate people into losing weight. She said: “If I look in the mirror and think I am obese, I think I am less worried [than] if I think I am fat.” - Daily Express

> Last night's ToryDiary: Tell people that they are "fat" rather than "obese", recommends Anne Milton

David Cameron in hot water as he accuses Pakistan of 'exporting terror'

Picture 5 "David Cameron risked a diplomatic row with one of Britain’s key allies yesterday as he accused Pakistan of ‘exporting terror’. Speaking to Indian businessmen in Bangalore the Prime Minister hit out at Pakistan for trying to ‘look both ways’ and suggested it connived to allow the spread of terror." - Daily Mail

> WATCH: Pakistan must not export terror, warns Cameron

Cameron's "Smarm Offensive" in India continues

"The truth is that there is nothing in Mr Cameron's pockets or those of the businessmen who accompanied him that could excite India – not even the agreement to export nuclear technology and expertise which overturned the previous government's reluctance to export to a non-signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. But the coalition government is two-faced in its approach to India. It wants more contracts, but not the people who go with it." - Guardian editorial

"Prime Minister David Cameron trumpeted a $1.1 billion defence deal with India on Wednesday, an early result of a big diplomatic push to court Indian business and tap new sources of economic growth." - Reuters

"George Osborne, the UK’s finance minister, on Wednesday called on India to break a logjam in negotiations over a free trade deal with the European Union and make an agreement by March." - FT

Osborne urges India to deregulate its insurance market - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron ambushed on Indian TV over demand to return 105-carat Koh-i-noor diamond - Daily Mail

> WATCH: Cameron and Osborne explain their hopes for deeper, stronger ties between Britain and India

Andrew Mitchell defends the ring-fencing of international aid

Andrew Mitchell DfID Secretary "My ­argument is that charity does indeed start at home, but it doesn't stop there," he says. As well as reducing adminstration costs by a third, the new UK Aid Transparency Guarantee, he points out, will ensure independent assessment of development spending: "The ring-fencing imposes on all of us a double duty to make sure that for every pound that is spent on the development budget from hard-pressed taxpayers, we really get 100 pence of value." - Andrew Mitchell interviewed in the New Statesman

Theresa May to scrap asbos

"Senior Labour figures mounted a last-ditch defence of antisocial behaviour orders last night after the home secretary, Theresa May, indicated she is to kill off Tony Blair's flagship measure to deal with youth crime. May said it was "time to move beyond the asbo", arguing that they were never the promised silver bullet and had too often put young people on a conveyor belt to prison." - The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Theresa May takes big steps forward in those famous high heels

Cameron plays down cabinet rift over non-EU migrant cap

"David Cameron is attempting to play down cabinet divisions over immigration after Business Secretary Vince Cable said a planned cap on numbers coming from outside the EU must be flexible. The prime minister told the BBC it was "perfectly legitimate" for Mr Cable to argue his case. But, he added, "we decide these things in a cabinet, in a reasonable and sensible way". - BBC

Damian Green to launch "Asylum Improvement Project" - Daily Telegraph

Benedict Brogan: Cameron is keeping his Conservative friends close, but his enemies in the Coalition closer

Benedict Brogan "A few days ago, Nick Clegg hosted a reception for his MPs and their spouses in the Downing Street rose garden. The idea was to show them the perks that power can bring, to give them a taste of life at the centre of things. The guest of honour was David Cameron, who worked the lawn hard. By the end, one Lib Dem, who would previously have crossed the road to avoid a Tory, admitted that he was starting to find the Prime Minister irresistible: "It's just so difficult to dislike him." - Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

Bruce Anderson: Cameron faces only a dinner party revolt

"Mr Cameron has huge assets. David Davis may be ever a plotter looking for a conspiracy, but not many Tory MPs would volunteer to become the masseur of his ego. The vast majority are committed to the spending cuts and to the education reforms. In both cases, success would be a title to greatness. It is probable that the only rebellion the leadership has to fear is the scent of roast beef and claret in a Commons’ dining room. Even so, the Right needs stroking, and watching." - Bruce Anderson in the FT

Andrew Tyrie wants his Treasury Committee to learn from Congressional Committees

Andrew Tyrie "His ambition – ultimate and cautiously stated, but there unmistakeably – is to help build something closer to the American system of Congressional Committees. "It's a different country with a different constitution. But we do have something to learn from the Congressional Committees, who have taken over the primary role of scrutiny in the United States and have the power to call for papers, to subpoena witnesses and enjoy far greater resources," he says. That approach, he adds, is preferable to trying to grill ministers in a "noisy converted chapel which is unlikely to impress a highly-educated 21st century electorate." - The Independent

Man in court denies throwing eggs at Baroness Warsi - BBC

Spelman to announce reduction in wheelie bins - Press Association

Peter Hain: The Tories sandbagged Clegg on electoral reform - The Guardian

Labour is playing fast and loose on AV reform - Martin Kettle in The Guardian

Labour accused of naked opportunism after it vows to oppose AV referendum bill - Daily Mail


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

28 Jul 2010 09:02:41

Weblinks for Wednesday 28th July 2010

Midnight ToryDiary: Tell people that they are "fat" rather than "obese", recommends Anne Milton

10pm WATCH: Pakistan must not export terror, warns Cameron

6.30pm ToryDiary: "Mr Cameron has insisted that not another single British soldier will be deployed to Afghanistan on his watch"

FiveTM 3.30pm ToryDiary: Theresa May takes big steps forward in those famous high heels

2pm ToryDiary: What are the biggests threats to the Coalition? Should the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats field joint candidates in some seats? Do you support AV? When should Britain leave Afghanistan?

Noon WATCH: Cameron and Osborne explain their hopes for deeper, stronger ties between Britain and India

11am Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: "It is absolutely vital that the coalition wake up to the need for serious reform to reduce the cost of climate change policy to families and industry."

10.45am Lee Rotherham on CentreRight is depressed by the Coalition's latest in a series of concessions to the EU

Stephenson Andrew.ashx10.45am Gazette: Andrew Stephenson MP is appointed as Vice Chairman with responsibility for Conservative Future and CCHQ's youth outreach

9.45am Parliament: Theresa May defends European Investigation Order as necessary for cross-border crime-fighting but backbench Tory MPs warn her that it is an EU 'power grab'

ToryDiary: I will not retreat from immigration pledge, insists Cameron

Philip Booth on Platform: Vince Cable risks promoting another financial crisis

Neil O'Brien on ThinkTankCentral: Achieving a greener, cheaper energy policy

Parliament: Mark Harper quizzed about whether historic boundaries will be observed in review of Commons constituencies

Local government:

Theresa May will unveil plans to overhaul licensing laws and tackle violent disorder - BBC

MAY-THERESA The Guardian highlights the Home Secretary's main measures:

  • "A doubling of the maximum fine, to £20,000, for a shop or off-licence persistently selling alcohol to those under age.
  • Voluntary closure orders for problem premises extended to seven days, and automatic licence reviews.
  • Fees for late-night licences to cover extra policing costs.
  • Licensing authorities allowed to assess the full impact on disorder and public health when deciding applications.
  • A limit on the number of temporary licences that can be applied for in a year, to stop avoidance of stringent permanent licence conditions."

Chris Grayling: 76% of those who say they're sick 'can work'

GRAYLING CHRIS NW "'The vast majority of people who are applying for these benefits are being found fit for work or have stopped their claim. These are people who under the old system would have been abandoned on incapacity benefits. It's a clear indication of why reform is so urgently needed. This is exactly why we are going to reassess everyone claiming incapacity benefits for their ability to work, from this October. They will now be given the support they need to get back to work and will be expected to look for work if they are able to do so." - Welfare minister Chris Grayling quoted in the Daily Mail | Express

The Sun Says: "The good news is there is still lots of waste to eliminate. Three out of every four people applying for incapacity benefits since tough new checks have suddenly become fit. Either they decided they were OK after all or, when tested, were found to be well enough to work. From October the 2.2million still on incapacity benefit will start getting medical checks. Stand by for a rush to the Job Centre."

David Cameron's commercial mission to India

Hindux "I have come to your country in a spirit of humility. I know that Britain cannot rely on sentiment and shared history for a place in India's future. Your country has the whole world beating a path to its door. But I believe Britain should be India's partner of choice in the years ahead. Starting this week, that is what we are determined to deliver." - David Cameron in The Hindu

"David Cameron on Wednesday promised to carry a “spirit of humility” to India as he lands on a “jobs mission” to the subcontinent that will reassure New Delhi that Britain’s immigration cap will be enforced “liberally”. The prime minister will arrive in Bangalore leading a 90-strong delegation ready to address a “new reality” where the booming economies of the east will force Britain to “work harder than ever before to earn its living in the world”." - FT (£)

"David Cameron is going to use foreign policy as a tool of economic policy without any hint of embarrassment and this massive trip to India is the biggest sign of it so far. This is a PM in a hurry to rescue the British economy." - Tim Montgomerie quoted in TIME

And the inevitable Sun headline: Cameron in India to curry favour

Triple trouble for Coalition

TripleTrouble The Telegraph on Chris Huhne's anti-nuclear policy: "It is a source of wonder that a minister charged with ensuring energy security for this country places so much faith in a non-fossil source that is wholly dependent on the vagaries of the weather. It is vital that we foster renewables, and vital too that we insulate buildings more effectively. But neither can be a substitute for conventionally generated electricity. And the cleanest and the safest form – as BP's recent woes illustrate – is nuclear. Mr Huhne's stubborn unwillingness to embrace it could cost the country very dear in the decades ahead."

The Daily Mail on Vince Cable's attempt to dilute the immigration cap: "Liberal Democrat Vince Cable led a growing rebellion against enforcing a draconian cap on numbers coming into the country, demanding ‘as liberal a policy as possible’. The Business Secretary has privately described the idea of a tight limit as ‘crazy’ at a time when Britain is trying to boost trade."

The Guardian on Labour's decision to oppose Clegg's AV vote plan: "The Labour shadow cabinet has decided to vote against a bill introducing reform to the voting system, raising the prospect of a Commons defeat for one of the governing coalition's flagship policies. The decision, taken last night, followed two lengthy shadow cabinet discussions. It could herald a backbench Tory-Labour alliance designed to derail the bill either at its second reading or by rejecting the proposal that the referendum be held on the same day as elections in Scotland and parts of England and Wales next May."

Net satisfaction with Coalition down to +2% - YouGov

CleggInStudio "Nick Clegg’s net satisfaction amongst Liberal Democrat supporters has dropped 26 points, from +64 in June to +38, whilst Cameron’s ratings among Conservative supporters have improved by seven percentage points, from +81 to +88." - Ipsos MORI

"Even though almost none of the cuts have actually happened yet – as opposed to being trailed and debated ad nauseam – the coalition’s popularity is already in free fall." - Allister Heath in City AM

"It's that blessed period for the Government – war's been declared but the fighting hasn't started. The cuts have been itemised but haven't been implemented." - Simon Carr in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Can the early opinion polls tell us anything?

George Osborne issues nine consultations in drive to simply tax system - Telegraph

Francis Maude: Some under-employed civil servants too 'expensive' to make redundant - Guardian

Cancer drugs funding receives £50m boost - FT (£)

Cameron's "prison camp" remarks on Gaza

"The people of Gaza are the prisoners of the terrorist organisation Hamas." - Israel Ambassador's reaction in The Guardian

PHILLIPS-MELANIE On The Spectator blog, Melanie Phillips describes Cameron's speech as "truly shocking and quite astoundingly stupid".

"Not only are the above remarks hugely unfair, but they are guaranteed to alienate Britain’s most valuable friend in the Middle East. The comments may have gone down well with an increasingly Islamist government in Ankara which is rapidly turning against the West, but they will seriously damage relations with Israel. They also fail to condemn the real source of Gaza’s problems – the reign of terror carried out by Hamas – a brutal terrorist organisation backed by Tehran and Damascus." - Nile Gardiner in The Telegraph

"Downing Street has made much of David Cameron's cost-cutting decision to travel with journalists to Washington last week on a scheduled flight. No such belt-tightening on Monday's flight to Turkey.  Travelling press were told to make their own way to Ankara, only to find that the Prime Minister had eschewed the eight-hour commercial option in favour of a 'small' chartered plane." - Daily Mail

> Watch Cameron deliver his Gaza remarks

The United States is too big for its boots - Ann Widdecombe in The Express

All that's needed to beat Obama is a serious Republican - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph

Johnson Boris Red Background "Marking exactly two years until London 2012, the Mayor of London asked for 70,000 volunteers to help the Games run smoothly and another 8,000 ambassadors to guide visitors around the capital." - Metro

Public sector became much less efficient during the Labour years

"Calculations made by the Office for National Statistics showed that overall, the value for money given by the public sector dropped by 3.3 per cent between 1997 and 2008. The decline in efficiency came as public spending almost doubled from £318 billion a year to £621 billion last year. The dismal performance of the public sector compares with a clear record of growing efficiency in private business and industry." - Daily Mail

And finally...

"Tim Montgomerie, founder of the Centre for Social Justice and editor of ConservativeHome website is in mysterious mood. He told the world on Monday that he was lunching in a café in Chelsea. He wouldn’t say what he was discussing over his warm gossip salad. “Walls = ears,” he Tweeted. “Friend & I disguised our subjects as Lockets, Numbers, Sebastian, King Louis, Gandi, Screws, Penfold & Thunderer.” Lockets and Numbers I can live with. But who on earth are Screws, Penfold and Thunderer?" - Telegraph City Diary


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