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Newslinks for Thursday 29th November 2012

6pm LEVESON UPDATE: No evidence, no deal — how the Leveson Report clears Jeremy Hunt and the Tory leadership

5pm LEVESON UPDATE: Now that Nick Clegg has lined up with Ed Miliband, the long political slog begins

4pm LEVESON UPDATE: The full text of David Cameron's statement

3.30pm Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Make no mistake, the Leveson Report will mark a watershed for the Press, whether or not its recommendations are adopted

3.15pm LEVESON UPDATE: David Cameron says that he has "misgivings" about the statutory elements of the Leveson Report

3pm LEVESON UPDATE: Five quick points about the Leveson Report


1pm ToryDiary: Net migration falls by a quarter in a year

AL1pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Responding to Leveson — why is "no change" not an option?

12.15pm Mark Florman on Comment: Tackling poverty benefits the nation as well as the poor

11am ToryDiary: It has never been harder to be a Whip

10.30am Robert Halfon MP on Comment: What exactly is the UN voting for when it comes to the establishment of another Palestinian State?

9.15am ToryDiary: There are moral, economic and political reasons to cap payday loan charges — so it's good news that the Government plans to do so

ToryDiary: Not the big state. Not the small state. But the affordable state.

Columnist Andrew Lilico: International risks - both good and bad - for the UK economy

NewspapersOn Comment, two Tory MPs write about the Leveson Report:

Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: Why should young people stand for council?

The Deep End: At last, a serious challenge to our medieval system of higher education

The day of the Leveson Report 1): Can David Cameron and Nick Clegg agree a unified response?

Cameron Clegg"The Coalition was heading for an unprecedented split last night after David Cameron and Nick Clegg clashed over the future of Press regulation. ... Mr Clegg was said to be 'actively pushing' for new laws to regulate newspapers – a move that would end 300 years of Press freedom. Mr Cameron, however, is understood not to want to back any 'Leveson law' at this point." - Daily Mail

  • And Alex Salmond wants separate press regulation for Scotland - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: 

The day of the Leveson Report 2): Mr Cameron looks to buy time

"The Prime Minister will try to buy time by saying that he wants to convene cross-party talks over the future of newspaper regulation as he responds to the Leveson report. ... The tone is in contrast to the intention expressed by No 10 last week that Mr Cameron would set a “direction of travel” when he addresses MPs this afternoon. The change in emphasis suggests that Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations have placed the Government in an awkward position."  - The Times (£)

The day of the Leveson Report 3): Maria Miller rejects the PCC's proposals

MM"The culture and media secretary, Maria Miller, has told leading newspaper figures, such as Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, that their proposals for independent regulation are inadequate, too close to the industry and will need to be strengthened." - Guardian

The day of the Leveson Report 4): Boris stands up for a free press

"Today Lord Justice Leveson will be under huge pressure to propose some form of statutory control of the Press. ... I hope and pray that the Government will not take that step backwards. ... It is one of the glories of this country that we have a free, exuberant and sometimes feral media. ... They keep public life far cleaner than many other places in the world — and that makes this country a wonderful place to live and invest in. ... As for the journalists. Well, we already have a system of regulation. It is called the law." - Boris Johnson, The Sun

The Sun's spread also features contributions from Lord Coe, John Whittingdale, Louise Mensch and others.

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Boris points in all directions at once

The day of the Leveson Report 5): Peter Lilley says that the victims of phone-hacking shouldn't set the rules

Peter Lilley"He said he had 'infinite sympathy' for the likes of Bob and Sally Dowler, who found that the News of the World had hacked the phone of their murdered daughter Milly. ... But he said it was 'wrong in principle' for them to have a say on the future of press regulation when the crimes committed against them are covered by existing laws." - Daily Telegraph

The day of the Leveson Report 6): The Spectator becomes the first publication to say it will not take part in a statutory regime

"If the press agrees a new form of self-regulation, perhaps contractually binding this time, we will happily take part. But we would not sign up to anything enforced by government. If such a group is constituted we will not attend its meetings, pay its fines nor heed its menaces." - Spectator editorial

The day of the Leveson Report 7): Doubts over polling - Daily Mail 

  • And YouGov's Peter Kellner provides his analysis of the data - Peter Kellner, YouGov website

And it's by-election day, too: UKIP and Respect hoping to beat the Tories in Rotherham

"UKIP and Respect hope to leapfrog the Tories and the Lib Dems and eat into Labour’s 10,000-vote majority by exploiting an anti-politics sentiment that has been exacerbated by an unpopular council, a disgraced MP and scandals over fostering and child sexual exploitation. ... UKIP calculates it can score its best ever result at a Westminster election, surpassing the 17.4 per cent of the vote claimed by its leader Nigel Farage in Buckingham at the last general election." - The Times (£)

  • Could this be Ukip’s day? - Harry Wallop, Daily Telegraph
  • "The Tories flirting with Ukip are feeling the siren lure of unelectable purity" - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

The Government agrees to cap payday loan rates

"Extortionate interest rates charged by payday loan sharks will be capped after the Government agreed to change the law. ... Treasury ministers backed a crackdown on the lenders who currently face no restrictions on what they charge, with some customers paying annual interest of more than 4,000 per cent. ... Labour MP Stella Creasy warned that her party could revive its amendment if the Government’s measure did not go far enough." - Daily Mail

William Hague: Britain will abstain from Palestine vote unless assurances are given

HAgue"Britain will not back a crucial UN vote to give a Palestinian state higher official status unless it unconditionally returns to peace talks with the Israelis. ... Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed that the government would abstain from today's vote as it had not yet received those guarantees." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: William Hague: Britain will abstain from tomorrow's UN vote if the Palestinians don't give assurances about the peace process

Rural campaigners attack Nick Boles's development plans - Daily Mail

  • "The reason why homes are not being built has less to do with the obduracy of selfish Nimbys, as Mr Boles appears to regard them, and more with the dearth of mortgage finance and a depressed market." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Nick Boles’s proposal for solving Britain’s housing shortage? Build beautiful

Michael Gove accused of "bully boy tactics" ... by a Tory council leader - Guardian

The average family's drinks bill could increase by £100 a year, under minimum-pricing plans

"A couple who drink the average amount will see their annual grocery bill rise by around £94 a year. ... The finding by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is a blow for the Government’s claim that the plan will target only binge drinkers. ... Yesterday, it also emerged that Brussels may deem the scheme illegal, as European officials wrote to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, to warn that Scotland’s own minimum price plan may contravene EU rules." - Daily Mail

  • "This new measure means that millions of responsible Britons who like to drink in moderation and who have never hit a policeman or had any drink-related illness will also be punished financially." - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

Pro-green Tories (and Lib Dems) are considering a rebellion over the Energy Bill

Wind turbine"The Bill, which is published tomorrow, is expected to fall short of demands by environmentalists that it should commit the UK to cut carbon emissions produced by generating electricity to a specified level by 2030. ... But in a move which will dismay Conservative ministers a cross party group of MPs led by the members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee are considering tabling an amendment to the Bill to re-introduce the commitment." - Independent

  • Households could be given cash back if they reduce their energy consumption - Daily Telegraph
  • The chief executive of the world's biggest wind farm company warns the Government that it is jeopardising energy investment - Guardian

More Tory demands for a marriage tax break — as the Government releases an app to help couples who want to separate

"Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said next week’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne is ‘absolutely the last opportunity’ for the Government to show it regards marriage as important and that it means to stand by its promise. ... The decision to produce the ‘Sorting out Separation’ app appeared to send the Coalition’s policy in a different direction." - Daily Mail

"Coldness, resentment, indifference and contempt" — Jeremy Hunt on how patients are treated in some hospitals and care homes

Hunt"In a speech fiercely critical of the services he controls, Jeremy Hunt said that in the worst institutions there was a ‘normalisation of cruelty’ where appalling treatment was ignored by senior managers. .. He spoke of a ‘crisis in standards of care’, adding that hospital and care home bosses who allowed poor care should be sacked." - Daily Mail

  • Young children were put on the Liverpool Care Pathway too, according to reports - Daily Mail
  • NHS Trust criticisaed for signing an unaffordable PFI contract - Guardian

> Yesterday, by Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment: Keep the EU out of our NHS

Home Office fears "another Litvinenko"

"Police are investigating after the body of Alexander Perepilichny was discovered in the grounds of his home in Weybridge. Mr Perepilichny had passed vital documents to campaigners fighting to expose a massive tax fraud in Russia that had led to the death of an anti-corruption lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. ... A senior government figure told The Times that the Government was urgently trying to establish whether it had “another Litvinenko” on its hands. ... Dominic Raab demanded yesterday that detectives be given full resources to discover the cause of Mr Perepilichny’s death." - The Times (£)

Thousands of students from outside the EU may have been allowed to stay in the UK illegally - The Sun

Ministers under fire over failling university applications

"The number of students in England applying to university has slumped by almost 10 per cent amid the increase in tuition fees. ... It follows a 15.2 per cent fall the previous year, with one expert declaring that 'alarm bells should be ringing in government'." - Daily Mail

DWP responds to "under-employment" figures - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by columnist Jill Kirby: If the Work Programme is to work, the Government should be more realistic — and get cracking with supply-side reform!

The Department for Transport delays the publication of its West Coast Main Line report - Financial Times (£)

Helen Grant's husband resigns from her office after a row with other staff over sick pay - Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: The PM’s haughty disregard of his own party is reminiscent of Tony Blair at his peak

Peter Oborne"The Prime Minister desperately needs a first-class whipping operation, and is starting to pay a heavy price for his very culpable failure to pay attention to party management. A significant minority of MPs are no longer frightened to rebel: certainly more than 42, the number needed to mount a leadership challenge. Before long it will be too late." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

Chris Giles: It's time for the Chancellor to be honest

"...better a dull chancellor seeking to embed credibility in his spending and tax plans than a showman hoping to divert the public’s attention from the true, awful state of the economy. ... In this vein, there is no need for the chancellor to set a new target date for the burden of debt to be falling, one of the fiscal rules he said he would live by. Setting himself a new date for such a rule would provide little benefit until some of the economic uncertainty is lifted." - Chris Giles, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair on the "virus" of Euroscepticism

"‘The Right have got it really bad on this Europe thing,’ he told business leaders at Chatham House in London. ‘It is a kind of virus that makes you want to take positions for the sake of asserting them, when a rational analysis says you don’t need to be in that position.’" - Daily Mail

Ed Balls warns that there's no consensus over bank reform

Ed balls"Ed Balls has fired a warning shot against George Osborne over bank reform by warning that there was no 'consensus' over the issue and a Labour government could still carry out a Glass-Steagall-style separation if the industry did not change its culture voluntarily." - Financial Times (£)

"Urine seems to be pouring through the ceiling into my Commons office," tweets Ben Bradshaw - Daily Mail

Neil O'Brien: National politics no longer has anything to say about the north of England

"Westminster politicians have repeatedly promised to close the North-South gap, but failed because they ignored economic reality, and flushed our money away on stupid gimmicks. No wonder northern voters think politicians ignore them and don’t understand them. Unless we change direction, it’s going to become ever harder to refer honestly to ‘one nation’: because our country will steadily come apart." - Neil O'Brien, The Spectator

The Archbishop of Westminster urges politicians to reach a solution on social care - Daily Telegraph

The wife of Sergeant Danny Nightingale is to present a 100,000 signature-strong petition, calling for his release, to a judge - The Sun

Not all of the evidence gathered during the BBC's Newsnight/Savile review will be made available to licence fee-payers - Daily Mail

And finally... Liz Truss, the human hand grenade


"I’ve heard her nickname in the department is the human hand grenade. When I ask why, her response shows the hand grenade in action. ... ‘Well, there are two civil servants in this meeting,’ she says, turning to the press officers with us. ‘Maybe they can elucidate?’ One looks uncomfortable and says: ‘I’m not being interviewed!’ ‘That’s a Jeremy Paxman-style answer,’ says Truss and turns to the other, who says quietly, ‘I’ll leave it to you.’ ... ‘Maybe,’ she says, ‘it’s because I put civil servants on the spot.’" - From James Forsyth's interview with Liz Truss in the Spectator


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