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Newslinks for Monday 29th October 2012

7.15pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt reveals that up to 5,000 mental health patients may have been sectioned by doctors who weren't properly approved

5pm Mark Field MP on Comment: The child benefit changes will penalise aspiration — and for little gain

4.15pm LeftWatch: Whatever his motivations, Tony Blair has highlighted some of the most important questions facing European leaders

Street light4.15pm Local government: Scare mongering over street lighting reduction not backed by evidence

2.30pm ToryDiary: Whatever happened to all the intra-Coalition concessions?

12.30pm WATCH: Philip Hammond moves towards the "next stage" on Trident renewal

10.30am MPsETC: Tory MPs table motion to ensure EU budget "is reduced in real terms"

ToryDiary: The Government is fighting for child benefit cuts — so why is it leaving other universal benefits alone?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: This Government is standing firm on its policies, but it must do better on the politics


James Morris MP on Comment: If localism is to succeed, then we must avoid more legislation and central initiatives

Local Government: Councils face transparency requirement on parking charges

The Deep End: China’s economic civil war

WATCH: Barack Obama warns Americans to take Hurricane Sandy "very seriously"

David Cameron faces an EU budget bust-up

EU"In a sign that Mr Cameron risks being outflanked from left and right, two members of the Shadow Cabinet and Dr Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, have called on him to stop any extra money flowing to Brussels over the next seven years. The move would see the EU’s budget, which amounts to about €129.1 billion this year, falling in real terms. ... Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, and Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, write in The Times today that: 'Labour will argue against the proposed increase in EU spending and instead support a real-terms cut in the budget.'" - The Times (£)

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Labour call for cut in EU budget in sign that they are ready to play Eurosceptic card against Cameron

As the PM puts Jeremy Heywood in charge of the Government's campaign to protect the Union

"The Times understands that 13 senior Whitehall teams have been told to draw up dossiers on how Scotland would be worse off on its own. In a sign of the importance that Downing Street has placed on upholding the Union, Sir Jeremy, who has become one of David Cameron’s most trusted advisers, is overseeing the project. He won the Prime Minister’s trust serving as his Permanent Secretary and is understood to have had input into key decisions over the Leveson inquiry and welfare reform." - The Times (£)

Tory-commissioned poll shows support for George Osborne's child benefit cuts (as a report highlights the cost of childcare)

OSborne"The poll shows the policy is supported by 82% of those surveyed, 78% of people with children under 18 and 74% of households earning over £69,000. ... The study by the Resolution Foundation, due to be published as part of a wider study into living standards this week, suggests a family with two children in which two earners bring in a total of £44,000 could end up just £4,000 better off than a single family earning £20,000 less." - Guardian

  • Melanie Phillips: Why should the state pay for women on benefits to have more than two children? - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: The Government is fighting for child benefit cuts — but why is it leaving other universal benefits alone?

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: 

Another report suggests that the planned 3p rise in fuel duty could cost the economy around £1 billion

Robert Halfon"Petrol price campaigners will present the Treasury with an analysis by economists on Monday showing a 3p rise in duty would cost the economy at least £1 billion - substantially more than the £800 million in tax it would bring in. ... Robert Halfon, the MP for Harlow and petrol campaigner, believes the rise due for January next year will cost families £60 a year in petrol costs alone." - Daily Telegraph

  • The Government is considering a "two-tier" road tax system - Daily Telegraph

A group of academics warns Mr Osborne that ending national pay bargaining could widen social and economic inequality - The Times (£)

And the Chancellor may struggle to secure money for infrastructure spending from pension funds - Financial Times (£)

Airport bosses unimpressed by the political dithering over airport capacity - Independent

Philip Hammond takes on the Lib Dems and Alex Salmond over Trident 

"Hammond, who succeeded Liam Fox as defence secretary in October last year, will frame the announcement of extra spending on a possible Trident replacement as a boost for those opposing an independent Scotland, as the successor project sustains hundreds of jobs on the Clyde. ... To drive home the point, Hammond will announce government plans to make Faslane [in Scotland] the base for the UK's fleet of nuclear-powered but conventionally armed Astute and Trafalgar class attack submarines, as well as for Trident." - Guardian

  • Law officers have told Mr Salmond that an independent Scotland's membership of the EU may not be automatic - Daily Telegraph

Eric Pickles speaks out against statutory regulation of the press

Pickles"Despite David Cameron’s insistence that ministers should not be seen to pre-empt the Leveson report, due next month, Mr Pickles joined senior Conservatives including London Mayor Boris Johnson and culture committee chairman John Whittingdale in opposing any statutory system. ... ‘I think, given that the press are looking towards finding ways, the end result of offering a good way that people who have a legitimate complaint can find recourse, then that is right." - Daily Mail

  • "We will always need a real and not a virtual Guardian" - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Chris Grayling stands firm against the ECHR

"Mr Grayling insisted there were clear precedents for countries defying edicts from the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared Britain’s ban on prisoners taking part in elections illegal. ... He signalled that the Government is preparing to hold a Commons vote in which MPs will reject reversal of the policy, paving the way for a stand-off between Westminster and Strasbourg." - Daily Mail

  • "New Justice Secretary Chris Grayling again talks good sense on Europe." - Sun editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Grayling opens door to human rights reform becoming key plank of the Conservatives' General Election campaign

New "snooping powers" could still be used to combat minor crimes, despite government assurances

"Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has told MPs that the powers could be justified when investigating incidents such as fly tipping and that setting a 'crime threshold' would be difficult." - Daily Telegraph

Lord Heseltine's report on economic growth "expected to lead to a clash with the Coalition" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on Local government: Heseltine's call for council reorganisation is likely to be rebuffed

Liam Fox argues that the eurozone crisis could push people towards extremism

Liam Fox

"Liam Fox, one of the party’s most prominent Eurosceptics, will call for Britain to have a 'new looser relationship' with the European Union – and forecast anger and violence within member states if it is not overhauled." - Independent

Louise Mensch denies her husband's claim that she stood down in fear of a general election defeat

"'Nothing, repeat nothing, influenced decision to resign other than inability to hold family life together away from him,' she said. 'Can honestly say I had no fear whatsoever of defeat at next election since had already decided not to stand again.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Tory campaign in Corby deploys newspaper for churchgoers

Tim Montgomerie: Gary Streeter's plan for the Church of England is simple but compelling

Tim Times

"No big palace. No robes and vestments. No talking about sex. No partisan politics. Mr Streeter’s plan is not the most sophisticated ever devised. But its childlike, raw simplicity is its most compelling characteristic. If the central figure of Christianity didn’t need big buildings, unusual clothes, moral censoriousness or political profile, why do his contemporary representatives? Perhaps simple reforms that were ignored when the Church was superficially strong now retain that raw simplicity but have the added virtue of existential necessity." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Ian Birrell: The Tory retreat on climate change is senseless

"Cameron has not given a speech on the environment since taking office. Yet along with health, this was the issue most personally identified with his transformation of the Tories. We saw the damage caused by bungled health reforms; imagine the dismay and distrust caused by shooting badgers, stopping wind farms, supporting airport expansion and strangling the green economy." - Ian Birrell, Guardian

Jeff Randall: Ignore the economic doom-mongers, Britain is finally heading back towards prosperity - Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg to announce new growth packages for cities

"The second wave of 'city deals' Clegg is due to announce follow a first phase in which England's biggest cities apart from London were given greater flexibility on spending in return for performance commitments. ... The deals include powers to 'earn back' tax from the Treasury, and devolved transport and skills budgets." - Guardian

Danny Alexander says (again) that the Treasury will do more to combat tax avoidance

"Pressed about tax avoidance on BBC One’s Sunday Politics, Mr Alexander said: 'We are investing more money in HMRC so they have the resources to go after the tax dodgers to make sure their affairs are in order. Whether you are a big company, a wealthy individual [or] someone who thinks you can get away with not playing the rules, the message from this Government is very, very clear — we’re coming to get you.'" - The Times (£)

Ed Miliband to round on those who demean the mentally ill

Miliband"Speaking at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he will say fighting those who discriminate against mentally illness is similar to the battle against sexism, racism and homophobia. ... The speech will build on Mr Miliband’s new theme of 'one nation' politics aimed at uniting people across social divides." - Daily Telegraph

  • Ed Miliband needs a clear economic alternative - Jackie Ashley, Guardian

In a letter to the Times, John Prescott accuses the PM's policing adviser of a "personal political attack" - The Times (£)

Cherie Blair's "Exocet" attack on Jacques Chirac helped Britain win the Olympics, claims Lord Coe - The Times (£)

James Purnell: Britain needs an adaptive internet policy - James Purnell, The Times (£)

What sort of wine do MPs want? Only wine that is "not widely available on the High Street," according to a Parliamentary tender advert - Sun

The NHS lost track of 1.8 million patient records in a year - Daily Mail

Schoolgirls as young as 13 have been given contraceptive injections and implants without their parents' knowledge - Daily Telegraph

Almost five million Brits are paid less than the living wage - Guardian

And finally... a study suggests that — surprise, surprise — we prefer to hate our politicians

"A phrase such as 'I don't like Obama' is likely to be more strongly held than a positive view such as 'I like Romney', the study by the British Journal of Social Psychology found. ... And once we hold a negative opinion it is only like to strengthen over time. This is in direct contrast to positive thoughts." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's question for The Jury: Who should be the next US President? Romney or Obama?


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