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Newslinks for Tuesday 29th October 2012

7pm Andrea Leadsom MP on Comment: The Reckless Amendment is not in Britain's best interests

6pm WATCH: Boris is winched aboard HMS Severn to launch London Poppy Day

5.30pm Local government: Labour Police and Crime Commissioner candidates should come clean on UNISON funding

5.15pm Ross Cypher-Burley on Comment: Cameron must remain part of the "carrot and stick" club when it comes to Iran

Daily Politics4pm WATCH: Nadine Dorries and Iain Dale debate gay marriage on the Daily Politics

3.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron may not placate his backbenchers by threatening a veto now — but he might in future

1pm LeftWatch: Francis Maude should abolish the antiquated and intrusive Equality and Human Rights Commission now 

10.45am Columnist Andrew Lilico: The "inflation hawks" weren't wrong then and won't be wrong now

Winter Fuel Payments

ToryDiary: Is David Cameron coming round to the idea of further universal benefit cuts?

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The public sector still has its computer leads in a tangle

A trio of articles on Comment: 

Will Straw writes on LeftWatch: A British-led ‘Grand Bargain’ could cut the EU budget by 25%

Local Government: Green Party councillor quits

The Deep End: The global economic crisis started forty years ago

WATCH: William Hague: Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration

David Cameron's continuing dilemma over the EU Budget

Cameron"Mr Cameron has promised to try to limit the increases to around 2 per cent, but many of his Eurosceptic MPs want him to go further. ... In a Commons debate tomorrow, they will urge him to veto them altogether. ... By taking a tougher line than Mr Cameron, Mr Balls was trying to outflank the Prime Minister by creating an alliance with Tory rebels. ... However, even the most Eurosceptic Tories lined up last night to accuse the opposition of hypocrisy." - Daily Mail

"Commons sources said that by last night, more than 20 Conservative MPs had agreed to back the rebel motion when it comes to the Commons tomorrow." - Daily Telegraph

  • The vote on the EU budget gives MPs a chance to follow in the steps of Margaret Thatcher - Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

> Today, by Will Straw on LeftWatch: A British-led ‘Grand Bargain’ could cut the EU budget by 25%

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Tory MPs table motion to ensure EU budget "is reduced in real terms"

And another EU headache for the government: their child benefit cuts could fall foul of European law

"In a briefing document prepared for ministers and MPs, the [Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales] described the likely outcomes of the new system as “fundamentally incompatible with the UK’s European Treaty obligations” and therefore open to legal challenge. ... The Government said yesterday that Whitehall lawyers were confident that the child benefit changes were permitted under EU law and that any legal challenge would fail." - Daily Telegraph

  • "But there is one very big hole in the Government’s argument. If the country can no longer afford benefits for the richest parents, the same logic must also, surely, apply to pensioners." - Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: 

Mr Cameron would save money by buying, rather than renting, his white tie and tails - Daily Telegraph

Officials knew that the West Coast Main Line process was flawed, claims report

DfT"Officials knew that their internal modelling used to weigh rival bids was vulnerable to legal challenge, but in March decided to go ahead anyway, even though it meant that bidders were left with inadequate information on which to base their proposals. ... The conclusions were contained in the interim report by Sam Laidlaw, the man appointed by the Transport Secretary to learn lessons from the collapse of the franchise process. ... Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, told MPs that the report made 'uncomfortable reading'." - The Times (£)

Owen Paterson announces measures to curb the spread of tree disease

"Owen Paterson, who took on the job last month, promised the Government's swift action will 'protect our native trees' from the fungus that has killed 90 per cent of ash trees in Denmark. ... The Environment Secretary has already been accused of failing to act quickly enough, after the first case of Chalara fraxinea, known as ash dieback, was discovered at nurseries in the UK in February." - Daily Telegraph

Chris Grayling looks into new measures to pay off criminals' legal aid bills

Grayling"Convicted criminals could have cars seized and assets frozen to settle their legal aid bills. ... Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said 'innocent taxpayers' were having to pick up the tab for lags who try to dodge paying up." - Sun

  • "More offenders will have to meet their victims and apologise before being sentenced under a rapid expansion of restorative justice unveiled on Tuesday." - Guardian

> Today, by Dominic Raab MP on Comment: The innocent shouldn't be put at risk in order to catch serious criminals

> Yesterday, in Bruce Anderson's column: "Chris Grayling, the new Lord Chancellor and Justice Minister, has settled in to his eminence and his mighty responsibilities as if they came naturally to him."

Michael Gove to scrap regulations surrounding school playing fields, despite opposition

"Challenging Mr Gove in the Commons yesterday, Nic Dakin, Labour MP for Scunthorpe, said: 'Considering the need to preserve our Olympic legacy, what does the Secretary of State have to say to those 150,000 people who signed a petition against his plans which will come into force this Wednesday to scrap minimum size regulations for school playing fields?' ... Mr Gove replied: 'I admire their passion, but they are wrong.'" - Daily Mail

William Hague meets the family of Malala Yousafzai


"Mr Hague said the teenager, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan earlier this month, had set an 'extraordinary example to everybody across the world in the cause of education and the rights of women'. ... The Foreign Secretary was accompanied by the Pakistani Interior Minister, Rehman Malik as he met the schoolgirl's father at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where his daughter is being treated." - Daily Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: William Hague: Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration

Mental health patients sectioned by unapproved doctors, admits Jeremy Hunt

NHS"Emergency laws will be rushed through Parliament after it emerged that thousands of patients were sectioned under the Mental Health Act by doctors who were not properly approved, ministers said yesterday." - The Times (£)

  • Jeremy Hunt reveals 326 blunders made by the NHS last year - Sun

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

Report warns that the Universal Credit "risks IT meltdown" - The Times (£)

> Today's column by Peter Hoskin: The public sector still has its computer leads in a tangle

PFI problems dog the Coalition

"MPs warned last night that NHS hospitals could go bust as a result of Labour’s botched PFI deals. ... But members [of the Public Accounts Committee] also criticised the present Government for having no idea how to respond if a trust does go bankrupt and is forced to close down – saying the controversial reforms imposed on the NHS could make things worse." - Daily Mail

The Home Office failed to order Welsh ballot papers for the police commissioner elections - The Times (£)

  • "The botched launch of [police commissioners] is all too typical" - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times (£)

Philip Johnston: The Government's two-tier road tax idea is "daft"

"Assuming the reports are accurate, this is a daft idea on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start. For instance, what if you only have a local road licence but for some unexpected reason need to use the motorway or a trunk road: are you then to be fined? It would be possible to buy M-way top-ups for the occasions when it became necessary to use the higher-priced roads, but administering such a scheme would cost more than it raised." - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Charlie Elphicke urges action against foreign companies that avoid tax

Elphicke"American companies making billions of pounds of profit in Britain are paying an effective tax rate to the Treasury of only 3 per cent, according to analysis by an MP. ... Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, has called on George Osborne to force companies such as Google, Coca-Cola and Apple to have to state the effective rate of tax they pay on their UK revenues. Government contracts should be withheld from multinationals that did not pay their fair share of tax, he said." - The Times (£)

Nick Clegg strikes back over Trident

"Mr Hammond, the Defence Secretary, announced £350 million to design a replacement to the Trident missile programme in what he claimed was a demonstration of the government’s 'very clear' commitment to Britain’s nuclear deterrent. ... However, the Deputy Prime Minister warned that the Tories had promised there would be no decision on whether to build a new generation of submarines to carry nuclear weapons until 2016." - Daily Telegraph

  • Polly Toynbee: Ed Miliband should forge a third way over Trident - Polly Toynbee, Guardian

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair proposes a directly-elected President of Europe

"The former prime minister, who would be a leading candidate for such a post, said a president was needed as part of a ‘grand bargain’ to save the eurozone from its debt nightmare." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Whatever his motivations, Tony Blair has highlighted some of the most important questions facing European leaders

Anger over Austin Mitchell's jibe against Louise Mensch

Mitchell"Mr Mitchell tweeted: 'Shut up Menschkin. A good wife doesn’t disagree with her master in public and a good little girl doesn’t lie about why she quit politics.' ... The comments drew an angry response from Twitter users, who accused the MP for Grimsby of sexism." - The Times (£)

Scottish Labour call on the SNP to pay back £12,000 of public money spent on a court battle to avoid legal advice being published - BBC

Expenses watchdog chief benefits from "off-payroll" financial arrangements 

"The head of the watchdog monitoring MPs’ expenses is being paid up to £169,000 a year in an ‘off-payroll’ deal allowing her to reap huge tax benefits, it can be revealed. ... Earlier this year Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander condemned similar ‘off-payroll’ arrangements saying they aided ‘tax avoidance’." - Daily Mail

Bank of England official claims that the Occupy movement was "right" about the problems in the global financial system - Daily Telegraph

Richard Littlejohn: "No nation which brings the Press under State control can call itself a proper democracy" - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

Public trust in the BBC has fallen below 50 per cent following the Savile scandal - Daily Mail

Britain comes 13th in the Legatum Institute's Prosperity Index - Daily Telegraph

> Today on Comment: Nathan Gamester: In the global race to succeed, Britain is picking up speed

Online poll suggests that Brits require £4,400 a month to "live in luxury" - Daily Mail

Rupert Shortt: Christians are now being persectuted throughout the world - Rupert Shortt, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Sell Lambeth Palace. Stop the politics. Shed the vestments. Tory MP Gary Streeter's manifesto for the next Archbishop of Canterbury

And finally... Big Ben could be hired out as a film set

Big Ben

"MPs want to charge production companies to gain access to the landmark as part of plans to raise an extra £3million a year by making the Palace of Westminster ‘operate more commercially as a visitor attraction’. ... The clock has played a central role in many films – most notably the 1978 version of the Thirty Nine Steps, in which the hero is seen hanging from its hands – but cameras are not usually allowed inside the tower itself." - Daily Mail

  • MPs will no longer receive free hardback volumes of Hansard, in effort to cut costs - The Times (£)


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