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Newslinks for Thursday 2nd February 2012

6pm Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Rehman Chishti MP on Comment: The Medway towns can provide a great example of communities working together

5pm Immigration, Chris Huhne and Top Totty ale feature in our Teatime news round up

4pm ToryDiary: Government sends another signal that it's about to (again) increase our contribution to the IMF bailout fund

3.30pm Local government: Morale at DCLG "lowest in Whitehall" says survey

3pm John Baron MP on Comment: We must talk to the Taliban without preconditions

Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 15.04.12
2.30pm Local government: Socialist Workers choose not to run a candidate against Ken Livingstone

2.30pm WATCH: Damian Green talks to the Daily Politics about his new emphasis on the quality of immigration

2pm Ed Holmes on ThinkTankCentral: Are Labour ministers being consistent on regional pay and benefits?

1pm John Stevens on Comment: If we want to increase trade with India we need to get closer to the EU

Noon ConHomeUSA: Santorum turns fire on Gingrich; while Romney catches Obama's money machine


ToryDiary: The ten reasons why Cameron expects he'll still need the Liberal Democrats AFTER the next election

Also on ToryDiary: Introducing the Conservative Baldemorts

Columnist Andrew Lilico: The FU Treaty significantly changes our relationship with the EU so when's that referendum coming?


On Comment, publishing new and exclusive polling Lord Ashcroft warns that the question of Scottish independence is too important to be asked in such a partisan way

Mark Prisk MP on Comment: Businesses will save billions of pounds because of our war on red tape

Local government: Labour-run Chesterfield Borough Council is proposing a Council Tax rise of 3.5% but is first holding a consultation to test if residents agree and Peter Walker explains why he's standing as Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

VIDEO: Britain gives aid to India but India buys French military jets. BBC Newsnight investigates...

Jeremy Warner launches a massive attack on Cameron's business credentials

"Mr Cameron likes to think of Britain as “open for business”, but the message he and his colleagues have been sending to the world in recent months has been the very reverse – confused and incoherent, it seems to read “not welcome here”. This is a government that appears every bit as compromised and paralysed by the pursuit of narrow political populism as its Continental counterparts." - Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph

  • Britain is now an anti-business nation - Allister Heath lists the reasons over at City AM

Senior Tories are urging David Cameron to SACK Vince Cable as Business Secretary — because he is stunting economic growth

Cable & Red Box II

"A group of Conservative Ministers blame the veteran Lib Dem for hampering the recovery by blocking radical tax cuts for firms" - Sun

Senior Tories say former Lloyds TSB chair Sir Victor Blank and ex-HBOS chief Sir James Crosby should also lose knighthoods - Guardian | Daily Mail

...But the FT (£) reports: "The decision to strip Fred Goodwin of his knighthood was initially well received at Westminster, but many MPs believe it must not be the start of a trend. One Tory MP said he felt “unsettled” by the decision while another said the whole episode had been “tawdry”.

  • The political class, led by a Conservative Prime Minister, has shown an unhealthy enthusiasm for playing to the mob in the Fred Goodwin affair - Telegraph leader
  • In The Times (£) Matthew Parris applauds the decision to strip Fred Goodwin of his knighthood: "Symbolism matters. Sometimes an example has to be made of somebody. The State is entitled to point the way. Sometimes it’s right that the sucker holding the parcel when the music stops does get kicked out of the game."

Peers who are imprisoned for more than a year could be thrown out of the House of Lords under coalition plans to end the “no expulsion” culture in the upper house - FT (£)

MPs have overturned a series of defeats inflicted on the government's welfare reform bill in the House of Lords - BBC

Downing Street last night confirmed ancient parliamentary rules on “financial privilege” could be used to force welfare measures into law in the face of continuing Lords opposition - Express

IFS criticises George Osborne's “bizarre and economically damaging” plans to restrict child benefit - Times (£)

GREEN-DAMIAN-RED-TIEImmigration minister to signal more selective policy under which only the right kind of migrants are allowed to enter Britain - Guardian

"Damian Green will tell newcomers they must show how they can “benefit Britain” rather than just benefit by it. In a key speech spelling out the ground rules for a more selective immigration policy, he will redefine the “points-based system” as a “contribution-based system”. And he will attack as “unacceptable” any notion of migrants “importing economic dependency on the state”." - Telegraph

Osborne 'has scope for £20bn tax boost'... but it might undermine investor confidence, IFS warns - Daily Mail

Government departments hits own cost-cutting targets

"Analysis by the National Audit Office found departments spent £7.9bn less in 2010-11, as capital, administrative and programme budgets were all reduced. Departments "successfully managed" within the new limits, it said. But it warned most had "no detailed plan" on how to meet tougher targets by 2015." - BBC

"The National Audit Office says that short-term measures such as streamlining back offices, which have saved £7.9 billion so far, will not be nearly enough. It argues that big “operational change” is needed, which could include merging departments to ensure permanent staff cuts. Most departments must cut adminstrative costs by a third by 2014 but redundancy costs have been high and many former quangos have been subsumed into Whitehall rather than abolished." - Times (£)

  • "It is sobering to be reminded that 94% of Mr Osborne's departmental spending cuts are still to come, along with another 88% of the planned reductions to benefits" - Guardian leader
  • Are we in this together? London and North worst hit by spending cuts - Independent
  • This may be an era of economic turmoil, but people have little appetite for a radical alternative - Martin Kettle in The Guardian

Cameron HAS renewed his EU veto, insists John Redwood

'Where's Baldemort?' David Cameron goads Liam Byrne at PMQs with villainous Harry Potter reference - Daily Mail



David Miliband outlines a seven-point plan for Labour's future - BBC

"David Miliband launched a thinly veiled attack on his brother Ed's leadership yesterday, denouncing Labour's tendency to wallow in its 'comfort zone'. Condemning what he called 'Reassurance Labour', the former foreign secretary said many in the party were still seduced by the 'political dead end of the big state'. In his most important intervention since losing the bitter leadership contest, Mr Miliband penned a 3,000-word plan to revive the party for the leftwing New Statesman magazine." - Daily Mail

Read the New Statesman article.

Ed Miliband's response to events - Murdoch and the banking crisis - has had more impact than that ofany leader of the opposition in recent times - Steve Richards in The Independent

In The Sun, Trevor Kavanagh looks at Yvette Cooper's credentials: "Unlike her bulldozer husband, she is happily free of contamination by toxic Gordon Brown. Indeed, with her campaign to portray Labour as the party of law and order, she could almost pass as a Blairite. Yet her credentials are pure Old Labour."

Scotland can go it alone and keep its triple A status - John Swinney MSP for the FT (£)

Dr Giles Fraser, ex of St Paul's Cathedral, dismisses George Carey as a “Thatcherite yesterday’s man” - Telegraph


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