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Newslinks for Monday 28th January 2013

4.45pm WATCH: The Afriyie plot - Those Taiwanese illustrators' take

4pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband & the referendum - skewered by Morton's Fork

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at WATCH:

11.45am MPsETC: Patrick McLoughlin's case for HS2: "It is a project that can become a priceless national asset"

10.30am Local Government: Pickles to punish democracy dodging Council Tax risers

10am Local government: Windsor and Maidenhead to cut Council Tax by another 3%

ToryDiary: "Stalking Womble" J Alfred Prufrock MP to challenge Cameron for leadership

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.24.59
Tim Montgomerie launches the first of a six-part series on MajorityConservatism for the Little Guy: Laura Sandys MP and a pro-consumer conservatism

John Baron MP on Comment: Let's place legislation on the Statute Book in this Parliament for a referendum in the next

Also on Comment: Andrew Lilico - What Jonathan Portes gets wrong and why

Cllr Clare George-Hilley on Local Government: Conservatives are building a bright future for Croydon

The Deep End: Whatever happened to the Eurozone crisis?

WATCH: "Fluffy PR" - Cheryl Gillan slams HS2

Cameron takes Cabinet north for HS2 big push...

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 05.00.52
"In a show of commitment to the project the Cabinet will meet in the North today, with ministers fanning out afterwards to sell the benefits. “High-speed rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration. It is vital that we get on board the high-speed revolution,” Mr Cameron will say. Cities chosen for stops on the line support the project, as does Labour, which wants parliamentary approval speeded up so that construction can start simultaneously in London and the North." - The Times (£)

  • "Commuters face years more of rising fares and overcrowding" - Daily Express

...But the "spur" to Heathrow is on hold...

"There is also likely to be a fresh blow for Heathrow Airport when it is confirmed it will be left out of the southern HS2 link. The government has put plans for a “spur” to Heathrow from the London-to-Birmingham section of the £32billion project on hold because of continuing uncertainty about the airport’s future…a dedicated “spur” to Heathrow will not be built until 2032 at the earliest and may not even be constructed at all." - Daily Telegraph

...Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett and Andrew Bridgen MP lay into the scheme...

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 07.45.09However, rebel Conservative Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, told the Daily Mail: ‘We are not Nimbys. It’s all very well Patrick McLoughlin saying some people are going to be upset but that it’s all for the national interest. ‘But it’s not going through his Derbyshire Dales constituency. It is my constituents who are going to be upset – with all the pain and none of the gain. People will go ballistic.’ - Daily Mail

...As does Cheryl Gillan...

"The former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, whose Amersham and Chesham seat is on the route, has described it as "the wrong railway in the wrong place at the wrong time and for such a high cost". The Speaker, John Bercow, whose Buckingham seat is similarly affected, has called it a "wretched, unnecessary project". The Chancellor George Osborne may now have to cope with some local opposition because his Tatton constituency lies along the obvious route between Birmingham and Manchester." - The Independent

...But business leaders back it in the FT

"However, the line has broad cross-party support and strong backing from local authorities and businesses in the Midlands and the north. In a letter to the Financial Times, more than 70 business leaders and heads of regional bodies call on the government to build the line “as soon as possible”. They argue it would send a “message to global investors that the UK is on their side” - Financial Times (£)

A million postcards, designed for Catholics to complete and send to their MP asking them to vote against the Government’s same-sex marriage plan, were distributed at masses over the weekend - Daily Telegraph

Remploy replacement scheme has been a success, claims Esther McVey

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 07.50.21"Hundreds of disabled workers who lost their jobs when the Government closed their factories are back on the road to employment, The Sun has learned. MPs will be told today that a Whitehall scheme to help those affected by Remploy’s collapse has been a success. The Coalition sparked fury last year when it announced it was shutting 36 of the state-subsidised factories." - The Sun

Police Chief calls for positive discrimination - Daily Telegraph

Scores of violent offenders walk out of prison - Daily Telegraph

Justice Minister Jeremy Wright admits five children were held in adult jails - The Independent

Pickles: Local authorities that won't freeze council tax face referendum

"Mr Pickles, who describes some councils as “cheating their taxpayers”, discloses that only about a third have so far signed up for a national council tax freeze, with dozens more threatening to defy government calls for restraint amid the ongoing economic turmoil. About 115 councils, out of 351 in England, have confirmed that they will freeze council tax in April. This compares with 99 per cent of councils in 2011 and 85 per cent last year." - Daily Telegraph

  • Why Councils should heed our quiet revolution - Eric Pickles, Daily Telegraph

Precious ash trees might be saved - The Times (£)

Scottish Conservatives announce wind farm curbs

Ruth Davidson"All wind farms would be built at least two kilometres (one-and-a-quarter miles) away from housing in Scotland under plans to be unveiled by the Conservatives today. The party warns that turbine numbers in Scotland will rise to more than 5,000 as the SNP moves ahead with plans to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from green energy sources like wind, wave and hydro…Tory leader Ruth Davidson will say: “It is not fair that anyone should have to live in the shadow of a turbine" - Scotsman

Richard Graham MP says women in short skirts and high heels will find it harder to escape sexual predators - Daily Mail

Tyrie slams secret courts

"Plans for secret courts to be voted on by MPs today will undermine centuries of open justice and erode Britain’s moral standing in the world, according to a hard-hitting new report. A paper by senior Tory MP Andrew Tyrie - a campaigner on human rights - and leading QC Anthony Peto, calls on the government to rewrite its plans to hold court cases covering national security behind closed doors." - Daily Mail

"Tory coup turns into farce"..."Bizarre round of speculation"…"The coup that never was..." Today's papers shred yesterday's Afriyie speculation.

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.00.50
"Challenged about the rumours on a TV news channel, self-made IT millionaire Mr Afriyie, 47, admitted he had held “conversations” about the party’s long-term future but denied plotting a coup. He said: “I will never stand against David Cameron. I am 100 per cent supportive of David Cameron and I am working with many colleagues to make sure we give the Conservatives the best chance of winning the May elections, the Euro elections and the 2015 election." - Daily Express

AA* follow-up 1) Heaton-Harris issues Cameron declaration of loyalty

Chris Heaton-Harris"MP allies such as Mark Field and Eurosceptic Chris Heaton-Harris are said to be impressed by the way he rose from a single parent home on a council estate to make a fortune put at £100million.  Mr Heaton-Harris was yesterday also forced to issue a declaration of loyalty.  ‘I want and expect David Cameron, who I admire hugely and support as party leader completely, to lead the Conservative Party into the next General Election and I also fully expect us to win that election,’ he said." - Daily Mail

AA follow-up 2) The Times says that Afriyie has "no real prospect" of leading the party...

"In reality, Mr Afriyie has no real prospect of becoming Tory leader. Those involved in the campaign to promote him said that the details had leaked out “too early”. However, it has lifted the lid on the extent of Conservative alienation from the party’s leadership…Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, and Jesse Norman, a new Conservative MP, are both said to have “growing fan clubs”." - The Times (£)

AA follow-up 3) ...But Nadine says: No, no, he could make it

"Maverick MP Nadine Dorries claimed Mr Afriyie was one of four possible long-term successors to Mr Cameron — along with Jesse Norman, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Tory chairman Grant Shapps dismissed claims of a challenge to the PM as “distractions”." - The Sun

  • Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 00.13.08Leadership hysteria: Your chance to vote online for Adam Afriyie, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Jesse Norman or J.Alfred Prufrock MP at the Daily Telegraph
    Will Adam Afriyie get pay back for his battles against the MPs' expenses system? - Daily Telegraph
  • Council house boy who made a £100 million fortune - Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

*AA = Afriyie-ites Anonymous

Peter Oborne: A Tory Al Qaeda is roaming the backbench wastelands

"Like the interior of Mali, large tranches of the Conservative Party have become an ungoverned space, just waiting for an interloper to raise the flag of open revolt. In recent months I have frequently been shocked at the scale of venom, contempt, and even hatred, expressed in private towards the Prime Minister. Many bitterly resent their exclusion from power – although few admit to this (very natural) emotion. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that both Mr Afriyie and Mr Field were snubbed by the leadership." - Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary - "Stalking Womble" J Alfred Prufrock MP to challenge Cameron for leadership

> Yesterday:

Egypt's Morsi declares state of emergency - Financial Times (£)

Socialism really works: how North Korean parents are eating their children - Daily Mail

Boris to Miliband: Give the people a referendum, You Big Girl's Blouse!

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.10.57"I was amazed when Ed Miliband announced last Wednesday that the Labour Party was ruling out a referendum. I don’t know whether his response to David Cameron’s speech was long-meditated — like the speech itself — or whether it was a kneejerk thing. Either way, he has blown it big time. He has painted himself into a corner. He has entered a lobster pot, and he is going to find it hard to back out with any kind of dignity — though I have no doubt that he will soon begin to try." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

We may leave the EU, warns Shapps

"Yesterday, when asked whether the Government would back Britain leaving the EU if renegotiation failed, Mr Shapps said: “I think that most people in this country agree that Europe isn’t what we originally signed up for. It has changed dramatically and so let’s see if we can get some of those powers back.  “If we can’t get any powers back at all then we’ll be in a different position.” He said that it would ultimately be for the public, not ministers, to decide whether the renegotiation was radical enough." - Daily Telegraph

A message to Romanians and Bulgarians: please, please don't come here.  The weather's terrible, global warming is frying us to a crisp, there's the wrong kind of snow…

"One idea was for the UK to run a negative public information campaign, according to ministers, to “correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold”. The campaign would focus on the downside of life in the UK, majoring on the changeable weather. Another option would mean that Romanians and Bulgarians would be forced to show that they have the means to support themselves for six months – or get thrown out." - Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Immigrants wanting to stay in Britain will have to swot up on Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, the Beatles, Coronation Street, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Sir Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis, Bobby Moore, Ian Botham and Four Weddings & a Funeral.  (Tony Blair gets "a single paragraph")

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 08.14.26Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “We’ve stripped out mundane information about water meters and how to find train timetables. The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British.” The previous test — introduced in 2007 — focused more on immigrants’ rights…The info might be handy for new citizens when chatting in the “important part of the UK social culture” known as “public houses” - The Sun

White British families drop by up to a quarter in some outer London boroughs - Daily Mail

Rain goddess Spelman returns to back radical civil service change

"Caroline Spelman, the former Environment Secretary, will back the reforms today, with the warning that permanent secretaries hold the “political life” of their minister in their hands. She told The Times that she had been supported brilliantly by her civil servants, but had been surprised she could not choose who would be given the top post. She will speak at the Institute for Government today in favour of giving Cabinet ministers a place on the panel that chooses permanent secretaries and will argue the posts should be more widely advertised to the private sector." - The Times (£)

Lords to get 50 new peers this week - Daily Mail

Osborne backs off radical Carney inflation plan

"George Osborne is cooling on the idea of changing the Bank of England’s inflation target to one aimed at the amount of spending, top Treasury officials have told the FT. The chancellor now thinks there is sufficient leeway in a “flexible” inflation target for the central bank to boost growth. The chancellor, who met Mark Carney, the BoE governor designate, for a drink on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday night, is worried that Mr Carney accidentally set up unrealistic expectations of a revolution in monetary policy in a December speech." - Financial Times (£)

  • Trevor Kavanagh echoes ConHome's call for a Big Osborne Economy speech - The Sun

Tim Montgomerie: My friend Rob Halfon - champion of the little guy

HALFON-robert"Ten hard years of visiting every street in Harlow didn’t just win a parliamentary seat for Rob. The experience also fashioned a philosophy of doorstep conservatism that makes him one of the most insightful Conservative MPs in the Commons today. Through hard, patient constituency grind he possesses as close to a winning recipe as any Tory MP I know. At the heart of his belief is a bias towards the little guy." - The Times (£)

> Today: MajorityConservatism for the Little Guy - Laura Sandys MP and a pro-consumer conservatism

The Independent interviews David Laws about the next Libdem Manifesto

"It's quite possible that there still won't be a single party majority after the next general election," he said. "The public have a generally sceptical view of political promises, unless they can see very clearly how they are going to be paid for. "The demands on us have to have a really rigorous set of manifesto policies with a very clear sense of what our priorities will be, will be greater than ever before." The Liberal Democrats' 2015 pitch is already clear. "We don't have confidence that Labour is serious on economic policy, or that the Conservatives have a strong enough policy commitment to creating a fairer society," said Mr Laws." - The Independent

  • Curse of Clegg strikes LibDem leader on Marr over oldest son's coming private school education - Daily Telegraph

Minimum alcohol pricing deal will "leave £1billion hole in coffers" - The Sun

Green deal seeks to boost energy efficiency - Financial Times (£)

Adams to stay away from funeral of Old Bailey bomber Dolores Price - Newsletter

Andy Murray agony - All news outlets


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