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Newslinks for Sunday 28th October 2012


9.30pm LeftWatch: Labour calls for cut in EU budget in sign that they are ready to play Eurosceptic card against Cameron

8pm ToryDiary: You've got to love Peter Oborne but he's wrong, wrong, wrong about Lynton Crosby

7pm MPsETC: Tory campaign in Corby deploys newspaper for churchgoers

2pm ToryDiary: Thatcher seen as most competent of living Prime Ministers and Brixton's John Major as least out of touch

10.15am ToryDiary: Grayling opens door to human rights reform becoming key plank of the Conservatives' General Election campaign

ToryDiary: Are voters more sensible than political journalists? The narrowing opinion polls suggest they might be...

Dorries Nadine HIGNFYColumnist Nadine Dorries MP: There does reach a point when the right to the life of a baby takes precedence over the mother’s right to choose

Nick Viner on Comment: An introduction to Conservative Friends of Pakistan

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

The Jury: Who should be the next US President? Romney or Obama?

WATCH: I prefer Andrew Neil! Chloe Smith MP remembers her Newsnight grilling by Jeremy Paxman

Lord Heseltine's 80 page growth report to be published

HESELTINE-MICHAEL-NNThe Sunday Telegraph previews some of its recommendations:

  • "reforms in tax credits to encourage businesses to spend more money on research and development as well as measures to boost the skills of British workers;
  • dramatic boost to the Regional Growth Fund, a £1bn pot of money set up by the Coalition to help businesses “in the parts of the country that need it the most”;
  • expanding the role and funding on offer to Local Enterprise Partnerships, organisations comprised of business people and local authority staff;
  • scrapping dozens of district councils to creat a simple structure of local government."

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

Tory Free Enterprise Group calls for 40p tax threshold to be increased to £50,000

"David Cameron last night came under pressure from Tory MPs to live up to his promise to  help the nation's 'strivers' – by cutting taxes for hard-pressed middle-class families. The Prime Minister was urged to 'reconnect' with Middle England and exempt anyone earning up to £50,000 from the 40p tax band. It currently kicks in at just under £42,500." - Mail on Sunday

  • £50,000 taxpayers rush to get help from accountants to avoid child benefit clawback - Observer
  • Are the rich paying a higher share of tax under the Coalition? - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday can't get clear answers

Ken Clarke backtracks after implying marriage tax break was unlikely to be delivered - Scotland on Sunday

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Ken Clarke dismisses the prospect of marriage tax breaks before 2015, and warns of "very reckless" Euroscepticism

The Number 10 operation

10 Downing St 470

  • The return of political guru Lynton Crosby would signal the defeat of everything the PM stands for - Peter Oborne in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Too relaxed, too convivial - Iain Martin's verdict on Cameron's inner team - The Sunday Telegraph

CAMERON COLOURMeanwhile... Cameron told by his Downing Street pollster that he's only 6% behind Labour - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

The latest YouGov/ Sunday Times poll has the Tory lead down to 7%.

Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times (£) wonders if the worst is over for the Coalition: "the coalition government is presiding over the least unhappy population since it came to power 2Å years ago. Even while the GDP measure was shrinking — the double-dip recession — there had been months of employment growth (which made many economists doubt the veracity of those GDP figures); and the consumer price index is now at 2.2%, down from 5.2% 12 months ago."

The unlovely Conservative Party?

"In the latest polling the blues had the worst figures of all three main parties with 60% saying they didn’t like the party against just 35% saying they did. The Lib Dems, by contrast, had 52% dislike to 40% like. The Labour figures were 42% dislike to 51% like." - Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting

Forestry Commission warn that cuts limit their ability to save Britain's ash trees - Independent on Sunday

Redwood John Oct 11 2Eurosceptics are not right-wingers but democrats who have seen just how much damage the Euro and false political union can do to the peoples of Europe - John Redwood

The Centre for Social Justice warns that Cameron's war on gang crime is being lost - Observer | Sunday Times (£)

Tory MP Rob Wilson raises questions about true independence of BBC's Savile inquiry - Sunday Express

  • Lord Patten is the last man I'd choose to clean up the BBC - Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph
  • "The tragedy of the BBC's slow response to the Savile scandal following the ITV broadcast is that it allows a groundswell of critics to build a case for the demolition or fragmentation of the corporation, which would be a disaster." - Janet Street-Porter in the Independent on Sunday
  • Nick Ferrari blasts the high executive pay of failing BBC management - Sunday Express

Louise Mensch resigned as MP for Corby because she knew she would be heavily defeated at the next election, according to her husband - The Sunday Times (£)

DARLING ALISTAIR 2Alastair Darling delighted at Alex Salmond's very bad week

"Sitting in his constituency office in the west end of Edinburgh, Darling is mulling over a week that began with two MSPs quitting the SNP and ended with Salmond caught up in an almighty row that has ­severely dented his credibility. The loss of two MSPs did not reflect well on Salmond, but it was the accusation that he had lied about an independent Scotland’s European Union membership that Darling claims has “knocked” the First Minister “off his pedestal” as self-styled father of the nation." - Scotland on Sunday

  • Scottish Secretary Moore demands an "honest debate" from the SNP, claiming the recent row over EU legal advice showed the Nationalists were out of touch with reality - Sunday Herald

"Why hand the keys back to the guys who drove the car into the ditch?"


- Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer says it is already obvious how the Tories weill attack Labour

"It is now 25 days since  I asked Edward Miliband’s office if he had received private tuition while at his comprehensive school. Why am I still waiting for an answer?" - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday

Labour's Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex targets the energy giants' profits

"The average cost of gas and electricity for households in the UK is now more than £1,300 a year, and has increased by £200 in the last two years. When you consider that the owner of Scottish Gas made £1.45bn in profit in the first half of 2012 alone, it is difficult for consumers to understand why they are paying through the roof to keep their homes warm as winter approaches." - Tom Greatrex in Scotland on Sunday

Brown_launchGordon Brown wins election... as most incompetent living PM

"Brown, who left office in 2010, was named by 43% of respondents as the most incompetent of the five leaders since 1979. The percentage was more than double the 17% scored by David Cameron, who was in second place. The result suggests that, despite the recent string of bungles by the coalition — ranging from the pasty tax U-turn to the debacle over the west coast main line rail franchise — voters still remember Brown as the prime minister under whose rule the economy crashed." - The Sunday Times (£)

MPs have doubled spending on overseas trips

"Globe-trotting MPs have DOUBLED their spending on exotic junkets — despite being told to slash costs. They splashed out £852,000 on “fact-finding” trips to far-off locations. The huge bill for flights, luxury hotels and meals was run up by members of Commons select committees. In the past year they went to Brazil, Australia and Costa Rica at taxpayers’ expense. The bill is almost TWICE the £474,000 spent the previous year when Commons Speaker John Bercow vowed to crack down on foreign jaunts." - The Sun

The Sun Says: "Thousands of families have been forced to cut back on luxuries like holidays because their finances are stretched to the limit by the rising costs of food and fuel. For many, a couple of weeks sunbathing on a foreign beach has been replaced by a day at the seaside. Learning that their MPs are jetting around the world at taxpayers’ expense will not only infuriate voters."

"The number of hungry Brits relying on emergency charity food handouts to survive has soared, figures reveal. Nearly 110,000 people turned to the Trussell Trust from April to September — compared to 132,660 for the entire previous 12 months." - The Sun

Childcare cost are now so large that taking a full-time job has become almost pointless for a growing numbers of “second earners” in middle and low-income families - The Sunday Telegraph

Francois Hollande is likened to an amateur by opponents and holds crisis talks after bad economic news - Observer

And finally...


"Michael Gove claims that his new Joe 90-style spectacles – said by unkind souls to make him look like cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, spoof agent Austin Powers or even Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow –  are all part of his attempt to stop people listing him as a future prospect for the Tory leadership. ‘They are my leadership vasectomy,’ the Education Secretary,  left, coyly insists." - Mail on Sunday's Black Dog


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