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31 Mar 2011 09:00:49

Newslinks for Thursday 31st March 2011

8pm WATCH: David Cameron says that Musa Kusa's resignation is a "serious blow" for Gaddafi - but reiterates that the Government will not be doing any deals with him

7.30pm Seats and Candidates: Academic study demonstrates how AV benefits the Lib Dems

Bercow biography cover6.45pm Comment: Jonathan Isaby reviews the first biography of Commons Speaker, John Bercow

5.15pm ThinkTankCentral: The IEA publishes a defence of liberalsing the gambling industry

3pm WATCH: Boris Johnson welcomes Arnold Schwarzenegger to City Hall and takes him for a ride on a Boris bike 

2.30pm WATCH: Ken Clarke announces the first prisons to be run by private sector contractors

1pm ToryDiary: CCHQ goes on a push to increase party membership to help drive future electoral success

12.45pm WATCH: William Hague says that ex-Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa will not be granted immunity from British or international justice

Picture 1112.15pm ToryDiary: William Hague launches NO to AV Group to support the No campaign ahead of the referendum

11.45am Max Wind-Cowie on Comment: The dishonesty of AV supporters over how their electoral system encourages candidates to pander to BNP voters

11.15am Local Government: Ken Livingstone backs UK Uncut's attack on Fortnums

11am Parliament: Ex-Labour MP Jim Devine jailed for 16 months over false expenses claims

10.45am ToryDiary: Like Arnie, IPSA will be back

Picture 9

10.30am Local government: Livingstone backs UK Uncut's attack on Fortnums

ToryDiary: The Liberal Democrats tug hard at the Concession-O-Meter

Philip Davies MP on Comment: The tobacco display ban is gesture politics of the worst kind and a triumph for the nanny state

Also on Comment:

Parliament: 79% of Tory members back Nadine Dorries' 'Right To Know' campaign on abortion

Also in Parliament: Charlie Elphicke calls for children to be guaranteed the right of contact with both of their parents

Local Government: While Labour nationally oppose Council Tax freeze, Labour councils claim credit for it

Gazette: ConHome's Graeme Archer longlisted for the Orwell Prize for blogging

WATCH: Baroness Warsi addresses a NotoAV meeting at Toynbee Hall, urging a No vote in May's referendum

Libyan Foreign Minister defects to the UK...

"UK officials have encouraged other senior Libyan officials to abandon Col Gaddafi after his foreign minister fled to Britain and resigned. Moussa Koussa arrived in London on Wednesday saying he was no longer willing to represent the Libyan leader's regime internationally. The Foreign Office said it wanted "those around Gaddafi to abandon him and embrace a better future for Libya". - BBC Schwarzenegger rallies Tory MPs*...

Picture 8 "David Cameron would like the world to believe he is a measured war leader who follows the letter of the law and avoids the gung-ho language of Margaret Thatcher. So it came as a surprise to Conservative MPs, many of whom have severe doubts about the military action in Libya, when the prime minister turned up with a "secret weapon" at last night's meeting of the backbench 1922 committee. With a great flourish, Arnold Schwarzenegger marched into committee room 14 of the House of Commons, which overlooks the Thames, to endorse the prime minister's leadership over Libya." - The Guardian

* Photo tweeted last night by Robert Halfon MP

...and William Hague expels five Libyan diplomats

"Five Libyan diplomats have been expelled from Britain because they ‘could pose a threat’ to national security, William Hague has said. The foreign secretary said the embassy officials, who included the military attache, had been thrown out for ‘putting pressure on Libyan students and opposition groups’." - Metro

Andrew Lansley "battling" to save NHS reforms

Andrew Lansley 2 2010 "The Prime Minister and Nick Clegg are to plot a new strategy for the NHS overhaul as officials agonise about how to prevent the measures backfiring. Instead of a swift revolution, in which GPs take control of all local healthcare services within two years, Downing Street is considering a slower pace of change, making 2013 a goal rather than a deadline... Mr Lansley, the Health Secretary, is digging in, however. He insists that there should be no change to the scale and speed of reforms set out in the Health and Social Care Bill." - The Times (£)

  • Labour accused by Lansley of plotting NHS spending cuts - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron urges EU leaders to adopt British-style growth plan in new pamphlet

"Mr Cameron’s pamphlet, “Let’s choose growth”, is an exhortation to the world’s largest trading bloc to “unleash the forces of enterprise”. He says: “We cannot be complacent – the world won’t let us.” The prime minister’s glossy pamphlet opens with a chart showing the relative decline in the economic standing of EU states, to the extent that it forecasts that France and Italy will drop out of the world’s top 10 by 2050. Mr Cameron sees the mailshot to his fellow 26 EU leaders – as well as the presidents of the EU institutions in Brussels, business leaders and opinion formers – as a sign of Britain’s constructive engagement in Europe." - FT (£)

Caroline Spelman says some forests will still be sold off

Caroline Spelman despatch box "A chunk of England's publicly owned forest will still be sold off, Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary has admitted, despite the public outcry over plans to privatise woodland... Giving evidence to the Environment Select Committee, she admitted that the government would still go ahead with plans to get rid 15 per cent of UK woodland - the maximum allowed without changing the current rules. It means some 38,700 hectares, will be sold off over the next five years." - Daily Telegraph

Give poorer pupils a university leg-up, at expense of middle classes 'flattered' by high A-Level grades, says David Willetts

"Good A-level grades achieved by middle class pupils thanks to high-quality schooling ‘flatter’ them, a top Tory minister said last night. David Willetts said some children from privileged backgrounds are ‘so well taught that their grades kind of flatter them rather than understating their underlying ability’. As a result, he said, pupils from lesser schools should be helped into universities, even at the expense of wealthier counterparts, saying they often thrive on degree courses despite lower school grades." - Daily Mail

Ken Clarke denies he is out of touch on sentencing for drug dealers...

Ken Clarke "Defiant Ken Clarke told The Sun yesterday he was not out of touch with the real world - as he backed soft-touch sentencing for drug dealers... He told The Sun: "The Sentencing Council guidelines are produced by judges who I think are very well aware of the world of drug dealing and drugs." - The Sun

...and denies weakening new anti-bribery law

"Ministers have been accused of undermining the long delayed legislation intended to crack down on payments of bribes by business executives. Anti-corruption campaigners claim the government has surrendered to lobbying by business groups, creating loopholes that will allow dishonest companies to continue paying bribes to foreign politicians and officials." - The Guardian

Chris Huhne accuses Baroness Warsi of Nazi tactics over AV referendum

"Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, accused his cabinet colleague Lady Warsi of descending to Goebbels-like propaganda after she claimed the alternative vote would make mainstream parties pander to extremists such as the BNP... "This is another example of the increasingly Goebbels-like campaign from the anti-AV people, for whom no lie is too idiotic given the truth is so unpalatable to them. AV makes lazy MPs work harder and reach out beyond their tribe. It is what Britain needs to clean up politics." - The Guardian

MPs "gagged" over Brussels power grab

"Anger erupted at Westminster last night after sweeping powers for Eurocrats to meddle in Britain’s economy were nodded through Parliament without a vote. Tory MPs were furious that plans for the EU annual “growth survey” were approved in the absence of a Commons debate... Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: “This is a significant step that has serious implications for the expenditure of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that has been taken without any debate." - Daily Express

Arts groups feel the pain as axe falls - The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ThinkTankCentral: The IEA calls for an end to state funding of the arts

BSkyB takeover would boost diversity, says Jeremy Hunt

HUNT JEREMY NW "Jeremy Hunt defended his decision to approve News Corporation's takeover of BSkyB, claiming the deal would boost the diversity of British media. The Culture Secretary told the Commons culture select committee he was confident the plan, which includes splitting off Sky News, would increase plurality as it "strengthens the independence of Sky News over and above where it is now". - The Independent

Balls owns up over Labour's structural deficit

"Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, has admitted that the last Labour government ran a structural deficit – having previously denied it – in the latest evidence of the party being more upfront about its record in office... Mr Balls told the New Statesman: “In retrospect, three years on, it was clear once the financial crisis had hit that people reappraised what their view of trend growth was and – in retrospect – of course there was a structural deficit.” - FT (£)

> WATCH: David Cameron brands Ed Balls "the most annoying person in modern poltiics"

Steve Richards: The Lib Dems irrelevant? Far from it

Steve Richards "If anything the influence of the Liberal Democrats on the Coalition is growing, and exceeds what they might have expected on the basis of their relatively small number of seats. They are, in theory, the rather pathetic, junior partners in a coalition of the radical right. Yet in reality they are important and substantial partners, at times almost co-equals." - Steve richard in The Independent

Matthew Parris: Neocons are nuts

"Like Marxists, neoconservatives belong to a cult that cannot be proved wrong by actual events. They just reinterpret the evidence. After two minor setbacks in Iraq (involving the wreckage of America’s good name in the world) and Afghanistan (where we’re still stuck, and dying), a new cause has their nostrils aflare: Libya... Even as we speak, neocons are preparing a fallback position if the Libyan thing doesn’t go according to plan. It’s all going to be President Obama’s fault." - Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

Political new in brief

  • Miliband launches Labour's local election campaign - Press Association
  • MoD supply chain "failing frontline troops" - Sky News
  • Nick Clegg's new 'report card' aims to improve social mobility - The Guardian
  • Family law shake-up to give grandparents the right to see their grandchildren - Daily Mail
  • Ex-Labour MP Jim Devine expected to be jailed today - Press Association

And finally... Why Ed Miliband won't have a best man at his wedding

David and Ed Miliband "Ed Miliband yesterday confirmed that older brother David will not be best man at his wedding. Aides insisted that no one was taking the role because Ed and partner Justine Thornton were doing away with tradition. But there were claims that Ed, who will marry on May 27, feared asking David, who he defeated in the party’s leadership race, for fear of being snubbed. David Miliband, who chose Ed as his best man when he married 13 years ago, will instead be among some 50 guests at the country hotel ceremony." - Daily Express


30 Mar 2011 09:00:03

Newslinks for Wednesday 30th March 2011

6pm WATCH: Ed Miliband and his fiancée Justine Thornton set a date for their wedding

5pm Andrew Haldenby of Reform in ThinkTankCentral: Businesses need clarity from the Government about the future shape of public services

4.30pm Bill Cash MP in Comment: Neither Coalition or Labour Governments opposed the existing eurozone bailout agreement

Ed Balls 20103.45pm WATCH: David Cameron brands Ed Balls "the most annoying person in modern poltiics"

3.30pm Adam Afriyie MP on Comment: How will the Prime Minister deliver on his promise for MPs’ expenses?

3.00pm Local government: Labour councillor unconcerned by "second rate education"

1pm ToryDiary: Are the Government's green credentials in doubt after the apparent U-turn on the labelling of cloned meat?

12.45pm ToryDiary: Miliband challenges Cameron about arming Libyan rebels, tuition fees and police cuts at PMQs

11.30am ThinkTankCentral: The IEA calls for an end to state funding of the arts

10.30am WATCH: William Hague says there are no plans to arm Libyan rebels to defend themselves "at the moment"

Picture 6ToryDiary: Boris as Churchill - Meet Sir Winston Johnson

Also on ToryDiary: Is inflation a bigger problem than cuts? Should the Coalition press ahead with the NHS reforms? Should we cut taxes on income and raise them on pollution? Take part in our monthly survey

Ruth Porter on Comment: The public increasingly understands that the cuts are necessary - and the Government should not be timid about going further

Also on Comment, Mark Reckless MP is delighted that At last, democracy is coming to policing

Parliament: Conservative MPs pay tribute to Lord Tebbit on his 80th birthday

Local Government:

Leftwatch: Peter Hain summarises how Labour headed towards an electoral nadir in 2011, thirteen years after its historic 1997 victory

WATCH: Douglas Carswell calls for MPs and select committees to have more power of scrutiny over public spending

Hague and Clinton raise prospect of arming Libyan rebels

Picture 11 "At the end of a conference on Libya in London, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said for the first time that she believed arming rebel groups was legal under UN security council resolution 1973, passed two weeks ago, which also provided the legal justification for air strikes. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, agreed that the resolution made it legal "to give people aid in order to defend themselves in particular circumstances". - The Guardian

"The conference, the Contact Group, the international resolve - sends a clear message to Colonel Qadhafi: we will not allow you to continue to brutalise your own people. And it sends a message of hope to the Libyan people too: we are on your side. We will continue to protect their lives, defend their rights and support their aspirations - and we will continue to support them on the path that they choose to take." - Joint statement from David Cameron and the Qatari Prime Minister

> Videos from yesterday:

Sayeeda Warsi: Why a vote for AV is a vote for the BNP

WARSI-BARONESS "AV flies in the face of a fundamental British principle - one that has been the cornerstone of our democracy and a beacon to the rest of the world - the principle of one person, one vote... But for me personally, there is an even bigger problem with AV: It gives more power to extremists. Why? The whole system is so complicated the problem is all too easily obscured. But the fact is that under AV, some people have more votes counted than others. Too often, those people tend to be the ones who vote for extremist parties." - Baroness Warsi writing in The Sun

  • The 'hypocrisy' of the AV backers who have changed their tune - Daily Mail
  • Independent devotes front-page editorial to backing the Yes campaign - Independent

Northern Tory MPs line up behind High Speed Rail...

"High-speed rail will reduce the North-South divide and help the Government to rebalance the economy. With reduced journey times between Leeds and London, the local economy could benefit to the tune of billions. By improving access to Heathrow and mainland Europe, the Government will help companies in the North to do business with international partners." - Letter in the Daily Telegraph from MPs Simon Reevell, Andrew Jones, John Stevenson, David Mowat, Stephen Mosley, Stuart Andrew, Jason McCartney and Eric Ollerenshaw

> Neil Stephenson on Comment on Monday: If the Conservative Party is serious about northern England it will build High Speed Rail Philip Hammond defends the Government on aviation

"It is complete nonsense to suggest that the Government does not have a strategy to help UK aviation grow and prosper. We have already announced proposals to reform the economic regulation of our major airports — providing a regime in which the passenger comes first. We have listened to concerns on Air Passenger Duty and are consulting on reforms to make aviation taxation fairer." - Letter in The Times (£) from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond

Ken Clarke explains the reasoning behind the new Bribery Act

Ken Clarke square "The ultimate aim of this legislation is to make life difficult for the minority of organisations responsible for corruption, not to burden the vast majority of decent and law-abiding businesses. Britain has a reputation for believing in fair play. But lately our halo has begun to tarnish, with the UK failing to show the zero tolerance lead it should have. In implementing this act, the UK government and British business is striking a blow for the rule of law and the operation of free markets." - Justice Secretary Ken Clarke writing in the FT (£)

UK contribution to EU reaches £9bn a year - The Independent

Oil companies go to war with George Osborne over North Sea tax

"The industry revolt over George Osborne’s North Sea tax raid intensified yesterday as a leading oil company warned that £6.25 billion of investment in two fields was now under threat... Mr Osborne and officials came under sustained questioning about the tax raid in the Commons, as members of the Treasury Select Committee warned that it was putting at risk spending in a vital British industry." - The Times (£)

  • Labour MP challenges Osborne over tax take on a litre of fuel - Daily Mirror

Lansley to propose "mutuals" for NHS staff

"Health secretary Andrew Lansley will invite doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff to take what will be seen as another step towards privatisation, by forming "mutuals" which will contract with the NHS to provide care for patients. Lansley will announce a "right to provide" for staff right across the NHS. Healthcare professionals in specialised areas, such as eating disorders, alcohol and drug detox, mental health and sexual health, could set up their own organisations with mutual ownership." - The Guardian

The Daily Mail accuses Caroline Spelman of "betrayal" over sales of cloned meat

Picture 12 "A campaign to put controls on cloned meat and milk was killed off yesterday by the UK Government and Brussels... Shoppers will be left in the dark because products from the offspring of cloned animals will not require special labels... Caroline Spelman, Tory food and farming secretary, led the moves in Brussels to sabotage attempts to regulate or mark food from clones and their descendants." - Daily Mail

Clegg suggests new nuclear plants may not be built

"The next generation of nuclear power stations may never be built because they will be too expensive following the Japanese tsunami, Nick Clegg has suggested. The Deputy Prime Minister cast doubt on the future for nuclear power by predicting that a review into existing plants – ordered after the explosion at the Fukushima power station — would recommend higher and more costly safety standards." - Daily Telegraph

Tim Bale: Why international evidence suggests it's nonsense to assume the Coalition will last five years

Tim Bale "There are two main reasons why coalitions end early. The first is something that comes out of the blue, like a domestic scandal or an international crisis that drives the partners apart... The other reason why coalition governments commonly break up is less dramatic but more serious. It’s the economy, stupid – and in particular low growth combined with persistent unemployment or (especially when the political balance of the coalition is tilted towards the Right rather than the Left) inflation. This, of course, is exactly the scenario the coalition Government is facing." - Professor Tim Bale in the Yorkshire Post

Daniel Finkelstein: Mandela and Miliband - Spot the difference

"On Saturday, just after lunch, Ed Miliband addressed the TUC march against the cuts... He compared his “struggle” (yes, I promise you, he really did call it that) to those embarked upon by the suffragettes, the civil rights movement in America’s deep South and Mandela’s African National Congress (he left out Gandhi, who is, I’m told, furious at the snub). In the process he managed to be absurd, offensive and, unintentionally, highly revealing." - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

> Sunday's LeftWatch: Gallery celebrating Ed Miliband's "I, Too, Am A Giant of History" speech

News in brief

And finally... Tory MP David Burrowes turns crimefighter

David Burrowes "An MP has called for more community respect after catching two thieves stealing plants out of a public garden. David Burrowes caught the two women, believed to be mother and daughter, digging up plants from a taxpayer-funded bed in The Ridgeway last Sunday. The Enfield Southgate MP and his son chased the floral raiders and apprehended them, threatening to call the police if they did not return to the scene of the crime and replant what they had stolen." - Enfield Independent


29 Mar 2011 08:58:40

Newslinks for Tuesday 29th March 2011

9.30pm WATCH:

7pm ToryDiary: What questions should we ask in this month's grassroots survey?

6pm Parliament: David Ruffley spells out the dangers of increasing inflation

5.45pm Kimberley Trewhitt on Comment: The challenge of energy security

4pm WATCH: David Cameron opens the London Conference by emphasising the need to plan for the rebuilding of post-Gaddafi Libya

3.45pm Robert-John Tasker on Comment: The hypocrisy of the international anti-war coalition

Picture 73.15pm Parliament: Nicholas Soames calls for Lord Young of Graffham to be reinstated as health and safety adviser

1.30pm ToryDiary: Is Theresa May in danger of following the Labour edict that you react to problematic events by creating a new law?

12.45pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: There is an alternative to the Government's programme - deeper and faster cuts

11.45am WATCH: Ahead of today's London Conference, William Hague reiterates the need for Gaddafi to commit to a ceasefire in Libya

11.30am Local government: Brendan Barber also backed UK Uncut

10am WATCH: Eric Pickles tells the BBC that new transparency rules are making councils realise they have to justify their spending

ToryDiary: May is going to be an unhappy month for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems

John Hayes MP on Comment: Building a highly-skilled workforce is critical to rebalancing the economy

Also on Comment, JP Floru asks: Will the Freedom Bill actually retain the Database of the Innocents?

Parliament: Peter Bone allows Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller to bust Labour myths about disability benefits

Local Government:

ThinkTankCentral: The Bow Group emphasises the need for detail from the Government if it is to avoid failure on public health policy

WATCH: Barack Obama insists that the UN-backed mission in Libya is not akin to the military operation Iraq

Ken Clarke to announce crackdown on the 'no win, no fee' lawyers

Ken Clarke 2011 "Kenneth Clarke will today sound the death knell for 'no win, no fee' deals which encourage ambulance-chasing lawyers to pursue frivolous cases. Victorious solicitors will now have to take a share of the damages awarded, rather than claiming huge success fees. The Justice Secretary will also raise the maximum damages which can be awarded in small claims courts from £5,000 to £15,000." - Daily Mail

Sentencing Council proposes that "minor" drug runners may be spared jail

"Drug-runners caught with up to 100 Ecstasy tablets would not face jail under proposals published yesterday. A person carrying up to 50 grams of heroin or cocaine could also avoid prison if they are deemed to be a minor player in a drugs gang. Instead of jail, offenders would be ordered to do unpaid physical work in the community. Critics said the proposal, published by the Sentencing Council, would send the wrong message and show that the courts were going “soft”. - The Times (£)

David Cameron accused of not telling whole truth over EU bail-out

David Cameron Despatch Box 2011 "David Cameron was accused yesterday of giving an “incomplete account” to MPs by failing to admit that the Conservatives agreed to British involvement in a controversial EU bail-out fund. The Prime Minister has insisted that the Tories argued against joining the £50billion fund to preserve the euro agreed by Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, in the dying days of the last Labour government... But Mr Darling said Mr Cameron had given "a somewhat incomplete account of my conversation" with George Osborne, his successor as Chancellor, as a document emerged suggesting that "cross–party consensus" had been given." - Daily Telegraph

Allies meet for Libya conference in London today

"Members of the international community are to hold a meeting in London later to discuss the next steps for Libya amid the UN-backed military action. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped the meeting of about 40 delegations would ensure "maximum political and diplomatic unity". In a statement, the UK and France urged supporters of Muammar Gaddafi to "leave him before it is too late". - BBC

  • Gaddafi must face a war crime trial not exile, insists Cameron - Daily Mail
  • David Cameron keen to avoid repeat of Iraq's post-invasion chaos - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Theresa May to review police powers in aftermath of Saturday's clashes

Theresa May Home Secretary "Theresa May is to ask the police whether they need stronger powers to ban known hooligans from marches and to order the removal of face masks, in the aftermath of the violence following the anti-cuts protest on Saturday." - The Guardian

  • Fears of crackdown on right to protest in wake of anti-cuts violence - The Independent
  • Government to consider banning face coverings to deter anarchists during Royal wedding - Daily Mail
  • Boris agrees to riot summit after protests - City AM

> Yesterday's coverage on ConHome:

Gove in partial U-turn on EMA after allowing schools to hand payments to poorest pupils

"Michael Gove was last night accused of doing a U-turn after he announced a new education allowance to help the poorest college-age teenagers. The £180million a year bursary scheme will replace the Education Maintenance Allowance, which  the Education Secretary scrapped last year. The scheme is worth less than half of the EMA, which had annual funding totalling £560million." - Daily Mail

> WATCH: Michael Gove tells Commons that he'll ensure poorest students are still helped through 16-to-19yo education

Conservative and Labour Foreign Office ministers unite to say NO2AV

NO2AV logo "Those of us who have represented Britain internationally know that one of the many reasons why we have always punched above our weight is our simple and straightforward voting system, a system that everyone can understand, because it gives one person, one vote." - Letter in The Times (£) from William Hague, Margaret Beckett, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Lord Hurd of Westwell, Lord Howe of Aberavon, Keith Vaz, Tony Lloyd and Caroline Flint

  • AV 'will give BNP voters more say at ballot box' - Daily Mail

Tensions emerge in Coalition over tax

"There is surprisingly little disagreement between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on the desirability of getting rid of the 50p income tax rate but there is friction about how exactly the rich should be taxed on their mansions... Tension rose on Monday after Mr Clegg and Vince Cable, Lib Dem business secretary, interpreted Mr Osborne’s Budget as the start of a “liberal” retargeting of the tax system away from income and enterprise and towards “unearned wealth”." - FT (£)

  • Treasury rejects Vince Cable's plan for 'mansion tax' levy to replace 50p income tax rate - Daily Mail

David Cameron reveals that Samantha inspired his plan for a new wave of entrepreneurs

Samantha Cameron "Samantha Cameron was a major inspiration behind the Prime Minister’s attempt to encourage a new generation of British entrepreneurs. David Cameron said his wife wanted to set up her own business after leaving Downing Street and that he went to sleep and woke up with an entrepreneur. He made the remarks as he announced an initiative called “start up Britain” and declared the country “open for business” following last week’s Budget, which cut taxes and red tape for entrepreneurial firms. Yesterday, 39 entrepreneurs wrote to The Daily Telegraph to back the Government’s measures." - Daily Telegraph

> Nadhim Zahawi MP on Comment yesterday: StartUpBritain will help a new generation of entrepreneurs

Rachel Sylvester: Ailing NHS reforms will face radical surgery

"At their spring conference this month the Liberal Democrats voted overwhelmingly against the coalition’s plan for the NHS. In the Commons Conservative MPs are increasingly nervous, with Sarah Wollaston, a former GP, leading Tory opposition to the reforms. In the Lords, “Shirl the Pearl” Williams has joined forces with Robert Winston, the fertility expert, to try to ensure that the proposals are blocked. Even in the Cabinet it’s hard to find anyone who really believes that this is the right time to tear up the NHS... Something’s got to give and it may be about to." - The Times (£)

  • Alan Milburn: Labour will contest, not concede, on NHS reform - The Guardian

Public could be given vote in Labour leadership elections

Ed Miliband 2010 "Members of the public registering as individual Labour supporters could be given a vote in leadership elections and possibly at party conference. The proposals for reforming the party's structure and culture, to be outlined by leader Ed Miliband and the chair of the national policy forum, Peter Hain, are potentially far broader than expected, according to Hain." - The Guardian

Steve Richards: It's time for Miliband to tell us where Labour is heading

"Ed Miliband needs to make a very big speech. In it, he must outline Labour's broad alternative to the Coalition's economic policies and its related view of the state. He needs to make the speech, or series of big speeches, by this summer or else become trapped in a caricature defined by his various and many opponents." - The Independent

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Labour is "in serious danger of losing economic credibility" warns Tom Bradby, ITN's Political Editor

News and Comment in brief

  • Baroness Newlove says residents should be able to set speed limits on local roads - BBC
  • Mary Riddell: Turning his back on the family is a betrayal David Cameron will regret - Daily Telegraph
  • Nick Clegg to lead UK charm offensive in Latin America - The Guardian
  • Ed Miliband and Charles Kennedy to unite on pro-AV platform today - Press Association
  • Decline in student numbers will cost treasury nearly £4bn - The Times (£)
  • Boris Johnson announces £50m fund for outer London - BBC

And finally... Poll finds MEPs are the least trusted people in Britain - Daily Express


28 Mar 2011 09:00:31

Newslinks for Monday 28th March 2011

9.30pm ToryDiary: Boris was right to link Labour with Saturday's disorder

Screen shot 2011-03-28 at 20.54.349pm WATCH:

7.30pm Graeme Archer on Comment: "Every housing benefit payment that's higher than the mortgage of the people who fund it: the working-class pays for them. Every skilled job whose wage is suppressed by the immigration deliberately engineered by Labour: the working-class pays for them. Every school with more first languages than you can shake a stick at: the working-class pays for them. Every fat-cat council chief executive, every knighthood for services to banking awarded to any spiv who caught Mandelson's eye, every penny on every trillion of the debt interest: the working-class pays for them. Most of Blair's wars too: the working-class certainly pays for them."

5.15pm Nadhim Zahawi MP on Comment: StartUpBritain will help a new generation of entrepreneurs

3.15pm ToryDiary: Could UKIP become Britain's protest party?

2.15pm WATCH: Zac Goldsmith explains why he's backing the People's Pledge campaign for an In/Out referendum on EU membership

Pickles2pm, On Local government, Eric Pickles submits his fortnightly essay: Localism and growth go hand in hand

1.45pm Local government: Local Elections 2011: The battle for Leicester

12.45pm John Baron MP on Comment: It's quite clear that Cameron and Sarkozy have intervened in Libya to secure regime change but are not willing to admit it

11.45am Arty McBain on Comment: You shouldn't believe that 250,000 were involved in Saturday's protests

10.45am ToryDiary: Stop the briefing!

ToryDiary: The Government's Libyan policy dare not speak its name


Neil Stephenson on Comment: If the Conservative Party is serious about northern England it will build High Speed Rail

Also on Comment, Robert Halfon MP: Saturday's riots were an assault on the very working people those involved claim to represent


LeftWatch: Labour is "in serious danger of losing economic credibility" warns Tom Bradby, ITN's Political Editor

Seats and candidates: Jane Hunt selected as Conservative candidate for Leicester South by-election and Jackie Whiteley announced as Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Rotherham

Local government: Mayor's scheme to coach young unemployed into jobs

Yesterday evening's International: Anxiety over nuclear power contributes to defeat for Angela Merkel in state held by CDU for sixty years

Nick Clegg confirms move away from taxing income, towards taxing wealth

Last night ConservativeHome reported Vince Cable's remarks that levies on high value properties should replace high rates of income tax...

...Mr Cable wasn't freelancing. Mr Clegg has confirmed the plan in an interview with today's FT (£): “A liberal tax system rewards work and enterprise and captures pollution and unearned wealth... It could be a range of things: the way the council tax system is structured; the way stamp duty is structured.”

David Cameron launches 'Start Up Britain' - a resources for "start-ups, go-getters and risk-takers"

Screen shot 2011-03-28 at 06.16.40 "Entrepreneurs who want to set up their own businesses will today be offered £1,500 worth of support to help kick-start the economic recovery. David Cameron will announce that 60 leading firms have agreed to provide free office space, business mentors, marketing, advertising, phone lines and internet services." - Daily Mail | BBC

New "Start Up" Britain website.

  • 39 of the country's leading venture capitalists write to The Telegraph, declaring that UK is a "world class place to launch new businesses"
  • BUT entrepreneur James Dyson questions limits on student visas - Telegraph

Liam Fox brushes off cabinet rift reports

"Defence Secretary Liam Fox has brushed off reports he has been "frozen out" of top-level Libya strategy talks. He dismissed the reports as "media tittle tattle" and told the BBC he had been working closely with the PM." - BBC

> Video of Liam Fox on Andrew Marr: NATO - including Turkey - will assume responsibility for military operations in Libya

Andrew Bridgen MP calls for investigation of  £909,517 donation made by the Electoral Reform Society to the “Yes to Fairer Votes” campaign

Mr Bridgen is quoted in The Telegraph: "Should the people of Britain vote for the AV system, the Electoral Reform Society stand to benefit from a potential bonanza in lucrative contracts to supply the running of the new system including through providing the new costly counting machines.”

Chris Huhne accuses No2AV campaign and Sayeeda Warsi of "gutter politics"

Huhne Chris Politics Show "[Huhne] targeted his anger at his Tory Cabinet colleague, Baroness Warsi, in a bluntly worded letter that exposed the growing strains between the Coalition partners on the issue. Mr Huhne challenged her, as the Tory chairman and a patron of the "no" campaign, to pull the plug on its "scaremongering and misleading" publicity. He attacked the £250m claim, which has been backed by the message that the money could be used to treat sick babies or buy body armour for soldiers, as the "politics of the gutter"." - Independent

"The 'No' campaign so far been frankly pathetic and there is a grave danger AV could be passed on a very low turnout" - Mail leader

> On ConHome yesterday, Matthew Elliott previews the next phase of the No2AV campaign: One Person, One Vote

Paddy Ashdown calls for greater DFID focus on emergency relief planning - BBC

Boris Johnson writes an alternative speech that Ed Miliband could have given to Saturday's marchers

""Friends," he would have said, "I want you to know that I am generally opposed to cutting too far and too fast, and that is why Ed Balls and I think we could perhaps get away with significantly smaller cuts than those envisaged by the Government!" And the crowd roars its approval. "No cuts! No cuts!" they chant. At this, the honest version of Ed Miliband raises his hand in caution. "I didn't say no cuts, friends. We think we could maintain market confidence and go ahead with only 80 per cent of the cuts. Think of that. We – the party of Nelson Mandela, the suffragettes and the Tolpuddle martyrs – we would only institute four fifths of the evil Tory cuts!" - Read the Mayor of London's full piece in The Telegraph

Iain Martin: Was this Ed Miliband's baseball cap moment?

TUC graffiti

^ Images from after the protests | Video

"William Hague, a considerable figure, never recovered as Tory leader after being pictured wearing a baseball cap as he careered down a water-chute. The images suggested, wrongly, that Hague was not worth taking seriously. Miliband wasn’t wearing a baseball cap on Saturday, but the imagery was still dreadful for the Labour leader. As he addressed the crowd, the television news channels split their screens, showing  Miliband on one side and the scenes of wanton vandalism and thuggish destruction in the West End on the other." - Iain Martin in the Daily Mail (scroll down link)

We're regressing into a disorderly age and the police aren't doing enough to halt the slide - Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail | Mark Steyn for National Review

Tory MP Harriett Baldwin attacks Miliband's suffragettes comparison

Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, said: "Instead of apologising for maxing out the country’s credit card or spelling out where Labour’s cuts would fall, Ed Miliband compared himself to some of the giants of history. His self-important comments are an insult to those who risked and gave their lives in the fight for equality." - Daily Mail

Miliband women

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Gallery celebrating Ed Miliband's "I, Too, Am A Giant of History" speech

> Yesterday's Local government: Labour's links to UK uncut protest movement

Allister Heath puts George Osborne's cuts in historical context, concluding they are modest for individual years but significant over four years - City AM

MPs condemn Arts Council waste and demand further cuts - Independent

38,000 university places could be axed because Treasury hadn't budgeted for so many universities to charge £9,000 fees - Times (£)

Because of Cameron's Etonian background he must send his children to state school - Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent

Scottish Lib Dems in crisis after MSP quits, vowing never to vote for the party again - Scotsman

Scottish Tories also lose candidate, heightening likelihood of bad Holyrood results for the blues and yellows - Herald


Conservative Intelligence