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Newslinks for Monday 24th September 2012

9.15pm WATCH: My age is not a problem, says Cable, after he's asked whether he's too old to succeed Nick Clegg

6pm WATCH: Introducing debate at UKIP Conference, Express journalist Patrick O'Flynn describes the three main parties as "the three-headed beast, the LibLabCon"

LAMONT-NORMAN3.30pm ToryDiary: Lamont warns of British economic decline if we don't match other nations' deficit reduction efforts

3pm Rory Geoghegan on Comment: Chris Grayling should be tough on crime – and smart on tagging

1.15pm LeftWatch update: Tories get turned on by firing people, claims Vince Cable

11am Harry Phibbs on ToryDiary: Snobbery, not poshness, is toxic to the Tory brand

11am Alex Deane on Comment: The offer we should make to UKIP is clear. You endorse our candidates. We'll endorse your agenda.

ToryDiary: The Lib Dems are painting the Conservatives as the party of the rich. What's our response?

ToryDiary: Full text of Andrew Mitchell's to-camera apology

PICKLES ERIC 2009Eric Pickles interviewed for ConservativeHome: "The prime test for any Conservative council is: Would somebody queuing for a bus know that it was a Conservative authority?"

James Clappison MP on Comment: Our European partners have set out a radical vision for the future of the EU

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Islam and Mohammed should not be protected from mockery

The Deep End: What British Conservatives can learn from the ‘Romneyshambles’: "If a leader won’t even speak with courage – clinging instead to the bland and platitudinous pap that passes for most contemporary speechwriting – then he gives little hope that he might ever act with courage."

Andrew Mitchell story gains new legs this morning...

Screen Shot 2012-09-24 at 06.22.32"An official police report shows Tory Andrew Mitchell DID brand PCs “plebs” in his Downing Street rant" - The Sun

"Andrew Mitchell has a choice. He must sue the police for defamation – or resign. If he fails to do either, David Cameron must sack him." - Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun

"Mitchell’s ill-tempered encounter with the police excites great ‘Who the hell does he think he is?’ anger, but surely the pretence that our police need protection from such outbursts is absurd." - Peter McKay in the Daily Mail

  • Clegg pushes for line be drawn under Mitchell police row - Independent

Cable promises £1bn 'business bank'

"The government is to put £1bn into setting up a bank designed to increase the amount of lending to businesses, Vince Cable is to announce. The business secretary will tell the Liberal Democrat conference this will help many small and medium-sized companies who have struggled for credit since the financial crisis." - BBC

"The “British curse of short-termism” is to be tackled with a new business bank set up with public cash, the Business Secretary will say. It is hoped the new bank – which will use the funds to lend up to £10 billion to companies – will “break the stranglehold” of the high street banks, which are often blamed for thwarting the economic recovery by refusing to lend." - Telegraph

Nick Clegg has said parents should be able to use their pension schemes to help their children buy a first home - BBC

Clegg wants taxes on top 10% as precondition of next spending round

Screen Shot 2012-09-24 at 07.06.11"With the nation facing its longest period of belt-tightening since the war, the Deputy Prime Minister said the ‘top 10 per cent’ – around 3million earning more than £50,500 – should brace themselves for new levies. Options include an end to tax relief on pension contributions for higher-rate taxpayers, an ‘accessions tax’ to replace inheritance tax, and further increases in capital gains tax." - Daily Mail

"The Deputy Prime Minister vowed to block further cuts to the welfare budget unless the Tories agree to a “mansion tax” on large properties." - Express

"Nick Clegg signalled a fresh battle over budget cuts with George Osborne on Sunday after warning that it would be "wholly unrealistic" for the coalition to pursue further reductions in welfare spending without increasing taxes on Britain's richest 10%." - Guardian

"Mr Clegg’s promise to stick to the coalition’s existing spending plans until 2015, “not a penny more, not a penny less”, confirms that he is not prepared to inflict more fiscal pain on the country before the election. “People have had enough,” an aide said." - FT (£)

  • Commenting on the plan Melanie Phillips writes: "This isn't just the politics of envy, Mr Clegg. It's a war on Britain’s whole economic future" - Daily Mail

Nick Clegg also signals tough line on press regulation

"Nick Clegg has said he will back strict regulation of the press if Lord Leveson recommends it – as long as the proposals are “proportionate”. The deputy prime minister likened the press to “desperate animals around a disappearing waterhole” and said the Leveson inquiry’s proposals should be judged on whether they met the concerns of phone-hacking victims." - FT (£)

Danny Alexander admits that he knew tuition fees pledge was probably unaffordable - Scotsman

Liberal Democrats logo largeCommentary on the Lib Dem Conference

  • "The party sees itself as ready to squeeze the rich and green the nation, but it's part of a rightwing, Tory-led regime" - Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
  • "The decision by Lib Dem delegates to oppose any expansion of airport capacity in Southern England – Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, as well as the construction of a Boris Island airport – confirms that the party has no interest in economic growth or competitiveness." - City AM
  • "They may be coming up with the best policies British politics has ever seen, but after their tuition fee U-turn, will anyone believe 
anything they say ever again?" - Scotsman leader

Party Conferences become profitable at the same time they exclude members

"Profits from political conferences have rocketed despite party membership dropping to an all-time low, research by The Times has found. Lobbyists, corporate delegates and the media are increasingly taking the place of activists as public disillusionment with politics leads to a hollowing out of parties at grassroots level as well as to poor voter turnout." - Times (£)

  • With membership in decline and activists disappearing, all the political parties have a common predicament; The Party Is Over - The Times leader (£)

Oliver Letwin strikes optimistic note on economy

"[Letwin] painted a wonderful picture of a beautiful dawn for the economy just around the corner. He said he had some sympathy with the idea that ‘the darkest hour comes before the dawn’, and that the economy was ‘nearing’ that dawn." - Isabel Hardman in The Spectator

Sue if extension is blocked says Pickles as he declares war on Tory Councils who oppose his planning reforms - Daily Mail

Fox Liam Apr11Liam Fox in surprise support of BAE Systems’ merger with EADS - City AM

"Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has helped persuade David Cameron to back the plans to join BAE Systems with EADS. But he faces questions about his own role – and whether it constitutes a conflict of interest because he worked for three years at merchant bank Morgan Stanley, which stands to gain tens of millions from brokering the merger." - Daily Mail

Elderly patients stranded in hospital because they have nowhere else to go are costing the NHS £500,000 a day - Times (£)

The English Baccalaureate proposals still leave young people specialising too early - In The Times (£), Peter Lampl says Michael Gove has not been radical enough

Nearly £1bn has been spent on the electronic tagging of criminals over the past 13 years with little effect on cutting offending rates - Guardian

Jack Straw was twice urged by Tony Blair to stand against Gordon Brown for leadership of the Labour party - Independent

Is Barack Obama a Tory?

"Against a radical right, reckless, populist insurgency, Obama is the conservative option, dealing with emergent problems with pragmatic calm and modest innovation. He seeks, as a good Oakeshottian would, to reform the country's policies in order to regain the country's past virtues." - The BBC quoting Andrew Sullivan

And finally... Boris lists twenty reasons why Tories should save "the Cleggster"...

In his Telegraph column, the Mayor writes: "I have always thought that if you leave out Europe, he is probably a natural Tory." That'll help Mr Clegg inside his own party!


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