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Newslinks for Thursday 5th July 2012

7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron: "I am confident we can derive over £13bn in benefit to the UK economy" thanks to the Olympics

7pm MPsETC updateLabour will cooperate with Coalition's parliamentary banking inquiry

Osborne autumn statement6pm MPsETC: Government wins banking inquiry vote as Osborne and Balls have Commons bust-up

5pm ToryDiary: If we don't fight major wars outside the European theatre, why do we need an army of more than 80,000?

4.15pm George Hollingbery MP on Comment: This week's HMIC report undermines Labour attacks on the Coalition's policing policies

2.45pm MPsETC: Philip Hammond gets rough reception from some Tories as he announces historic cuts to the Army

1.15pm Mark Lancaster MP on Comment: How can we convince more people to adopt?

10.45am Local government: Minister for Cities Greg Clark and the Leader of Trafford Council, Cllr Matthew Colledge on how City Deals reward enterprise not dependency

SpelmanrainToryDiary: Caroline Spelman, Rain Goddess

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Can Ethics Preserve Capitalism without Christianity?

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Leveson assumes that papers shape the views of their readers. This is wrong. It's the other way round.

Also on Comment: Simon Gordon - Action is needed to boost the supply of rented properties. Here's what should be done.

Local Government: Norfolk County Council plans to buy RAF Coltishall

The Deep End: How not to get ripped off on public infrastructure

WATCH: Spelman has confirmed that plans to sell England's publicly-owned forests have been scrapped

Hammond to announce "Army 2020" reforms today as the Army shrinks to its smallest since Victorian times

"Plans to bring home half the British troops in Germany by 2015 are expected to be delayed because it costs less to keep them there. Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, will announce today the “Army 2020” reforms, which will include an accelerated timetable for 20,000 job losses within the Army, the disbanding of seven battalions and regiments, and a new force structure. Mr Hammond will say today that no decisions on moving British forces to new bases will be made until the end of the year." - The Times (£)

  • Downsized Argylls live to fight another day amid expected armed forces cuts - Scotsman
  • Salmond asked British Embassy for French PM meeting - Daily Telegraph

Hague ratchets up pressure on Syria to remove Assad

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 07.27.35"Foreign Secretary William Hague announced yesterday that the UK wants to introduce a motion under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which can approve the use of force. British diplomats say they will only threaten sanctions, rather than military action. But the move will be seen as a ratcheting up of pressure on both the Syrian regime and Russia, which has given Assad diplomatic protection." - Daily Mail

Passenger tax stays on flights from Northern Ireland to rest of UK  - Belfast Telegraph

Spelman says forests will "stay in public hands"

"Forests will stay in public hands after an expert panel said the 258,000 hectares of English woodland should not be sold off. Instead of selling off forests, the experts recommended the government expand access to woods by providing incentives to increase the forested area from 10 per cent of England’s land to 15 per cent by 2060. The government said it would listen to the conclusions of the Independent Panel on Forestry, set up after strong public criticism of plans to raise up to £350m by selling part of the state-owned forest estate." - Financial Times (£)

  • Safeguard England's water, MPs urge - BBC
  • Rain goddess Spelman will let a month's worth of rain fall today and tomorrow after she conjures up wettest June on record - Daily Mail

Border shambles lets 150,000 migrants overstay their visas as officials have no idea if they are still living here illegally - Daily Mail

There he is! Submarine Osborne bobs up in Spectator interview to launch surface attack on Balls and Vadera over Libor scandal...

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 07.31.15
"The chancellor made his intervention shortly before Bob Diamond gave evidence at the Treasury select committee in a pre-planned Spectator interview in which he said "people around Gordon Brown" were involved in manipulating the Libor rate at the height of the credit crunch in 2008. Treasury sources said Osborne did not have a smoking gun which proved Brown's supporters were involved. But they said Diamond's memo of a conversation with Paul Tucker, in which the Bank of England deputy governor said Whitehall figures were concerned about the Libor rate, showed Labour ministers had intervened." - The Guardian

  • Osborne’s revenge on the Labour Party will turn sour - Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

...And may try to line up Labour's Lord McFall to chair Parliamentary banking inquiry if Andrew Tyrie won't play ball

Screen shot 2012-07-05 at 07.43.31"Mr Tyrie says he will refuse to preside over an inquiry which does not command Labour support, but Mr Osborne has drawn up a Plan B: asking a respected Labour peer to chair the inquiry instead. John McFall, the Labour former head of the Commons Treasury committee who presided over extensive hearings into the financial crash, has been approached to head the inquiry with approaches from both the Treasury and other Tories." - Financial Times (£)

The Treasury Select Committee Chairman questions Diamond evidence over interest rate scandal...

"Andrew Tyrie, who could take charge of a parliamentary inquiry into Britain's banking industry if MPs can reach agreement today, ratcheted up the pressure on Diamond by writing to Barclays over some of his evidence. Hours after Diamond denounced the behaviour of some of his staff as "reprehensible", Tyrie said he would be asking Barclays for correspondence from the Financial Services Authority about its assessment of Diamond." - The Guardian

  • MPs to debate form of Barclays inquiry - BBC

...After he claims that he wasn't instructed to manipulate Libor.  The Select Committee gets little out of him...

"The UK’s financial regulator expressed concerns about cultural failings at Barclays under the leadership of Bob Diamond four months before the bank was hit with a fine that led to his dramatic resignation as chief executive. The revelations came during Mr Diamond’s three-hour grilling by a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, a day after he stepped down from Barclays over the record £290m fine it received for attempting to manipulate interbank lending rates." - Financial Times (£)

"[Mr Diamond]…settled into a tone more reminiscent of breakfast television, addressing the MPs by their first names, as though it was they rather than he who needed to be put at ease…With some honourable exceptions, the MPs' questions were timid, ill-informed, over-emotional and party political. Once Mr Diamond understood the need for periodic self-flagellation, he was almost off the hook. The proceedings offered the perfect illustration of why a judicial inquiry is so necessary, and why the parliamentary option will not do." - Independent Editorial

...With an exception: Andrea Leadsom puts him on the spot...

Andrea Leadsom"Mrs Leadsom (Con, S Northants), who used to work in finance, stared at the former Barclays chief executive with her eyes ablaze, her countenance beaky. He tried to meander. She kept slapping him – verbally – and wrenching him back to the topic. ‘Fraud and corruption were going on under your noses,’ she cried." - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

...And today she suggests separating retail and investment banking completely...

"One significant step in that direction would be taking the opportunity of selling off the now state-owned banks – in smaller “parcels”. This would instantly create potential new challenger banks in Britain. It is something I urge the government to reconsider. I also believe that, in view of the events of recent weeks, George Osborne should revisit his response to the proposals of the Independent Commission on Banking. The chancellor needs to move further and faster." Andrea Leadsom MP, Financial Times (£)

  • Deputy Bank of England governor Paul Tucker pleads to give evidence to Treasury Select Committtee - Daily Express
  • For Cameron and Osborne, the Barclays showdown is really about 2015 - Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • If there is a smoking gun in the rate-fixing scandal, Labour's paw prints look to be all over it - Nick Wood, Daily Mail
  • Change is in the air. Labour understands this, Tories don't - The Independent

> Yesterday:

Britons with holiday homes in France hit with massive tax hikes as Hollande tries to plug £8bn hole in budget - Daily Mail

Eight British cities reach deal with Clegg and Greg Clark over greater spending control

CLARK GREG"As part of the "City Deals", Clark said he would advocate devolving power to local councils so long as they put in place stronger governance arrangements. He asked them to show they were going to be run by an elected mayor, or through a stronger community of local authorities. All the city councils have responded. Clark and Clegg have won Whitehall approval for the permanent transfer of transport budgets and skills budgets for some of the cities." - The Guardian

Jamie Oliver war with Gove over school dinner drags on - The Sun

Peter Oborne greets the appointment of the BBC's new Director-General

"Admittedly, George Entwistle does not sport a three-day beard. But in all other respects he is a manifestation of exactly the same phenomenon as his predecessor: the thrusting, middle-aged, white, male, ultimately meaningless media executive. Both men are habitually called brilliant by their acolytes. Both men – as was tellingly remarked of the broadcaster David Frost – have risen without trace. Mr Entwistle parrots exactly the same ghastly language as his predecessor – indeed, one BBC executive proudly informed me yesterday afternoon that a memo has already circulated, proposing yet more counter-intuitive thinking." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

  • Entwhistle is a "safe pair of hands" and a "loyal BBC soldier" - The Guardian

Bank may take new £50b Q.E move - Daily Express

30 hospital trusts record a combined deficit of more than £300m last year - The Guardian

Cameron: Olympics will boost economy by £13 billion - Sky News

And finally…"And the next stop is…gosh!...ah, er…cripes!…hang on a moment": Boris turns Olympics tube announcer - The Independent


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