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Newslinks for Wednesday 30th January 2013

Andrew6pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: Tell Conservatives to avoid attacking "multiculturalism" when they attack multiculturalism

4.30pm Local government: Pickles attacks BBC

4pm MPsETC: Candidates selected for the two target seats of Cheltenham and St Austell & Newquay

2.45pm WATCH: A PMQs double-bill:

1.45pm ToryDiary: Miliband targets Osborne (and Osborne’s fiscal policy, natch) in PMQs

RH12.45pm WATCH: Robert Halfon MP criticises the OFT's inquiry into fuel prices

10.15am Local government: Braintree cuts Council Tax

10am ToryDiary: The Coalition might fix schools and welfare but voters won't be grateful if the economy remains flat

ToryDiary: The Coalition risks breakdown if it doesn’t unite around some new big ideas

Jeremy WrightJeremy Wright MP on Comment: The state doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas when it comes to cutting reoffending

Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment: Some questions for the new "Centre for British Influence Through Europe"

On MajorityConservatism, the third in our six-part series looking at Conservatism for the Little Guy: Robert Halfon MP, champion of tax cuts for the poor 

Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: Staffordshire is champion council of the week

The Deep End: Gun control: Barack Obama should follow in John Howard’s footsteps

David Cameron orders 330 British to Mali – amid concerns about defence cuts

Mali"As David Cameron ordered 330 troops to the troubled West African state to support the French-led assault on Al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents, alarmed military commanders raised fears of a ‘mission creep’. ... Ministers insisted the troops’ role would be limited to training African soldiers and providing experts in intelligence, surveillance and logistics, while Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there was ‘no intention’ of UK units being involved in combat." - Daily Mail

"George Osborne is under pressure from Tory MPs to shield the armed forces from further defence cuts in this year’s spending review, as the military is dispatched to a new war zone in Mali." - Financial Times (£)

"The Telegraph understands that senior commanders fear that the quality of Britain’s world-class special forces could be undermined if defence spending is cut again in 2015." - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron will fly in to troubled North Africa today amid concern that Britain is being rapidly drawn into the region’s fight against terrorism." - The Times (£)
  • "Scores of corpses were pulled from a river in Aleppo yesterday after the worst massacre that Syria’s war-ravaged second city has suffered." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Garvan Walshe: We may not be interested in ungoverned spaces, but they are interested in us

"IRA assassins are plotting a terror outrage as world leaders gather for a G8 summit in Northern Ireland, MI5 chiefs fear." - The Sun

Ministers are pushing for a married couples tax break to avert a revolt over same-sex marriage

"David Cameron is under mounting pressure to push through tax breaks for married couples as a way of averting a Tory rupture over gay marriage. ... Ministers are pressing Downing Street to make a Budget announcement in March implementing the party’s promise to reward married couples in the tax system. Cabinet sources told The Times that George Osborne should act 'sooner rather than later' and that the Budget would be 'a good time to placate an awful lot of people'." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday, by Jonathan Isaby on Comment: This Conservative-led Government has raised tax more than twice as often as it has cut it

Tory MPs attack Nick Clegg after the boundary reforms are voted down

CoC"Tory MPs accused Mr Clegg of ‘spite’ and ‘bitterness’ as MPs voted by 334 votes to 292 to delay any change to boundaries until 2018 – a majority of 42. ... It was the first time the Liberal Democrats have voted with Labour to destroy a piece of Government legislation." - Daily Mail

  • "Labour now the firm favourite to triumph in 2015 elections" - Allister Heath, City AM
  • "This was Parliament at its most contemptible. In a despicable display of treachery and spite, Lib Dems joined forces with self-serving Opposition parties last night to vote against a fundamental principle of democracy." - Daily Mail leader
  • "How could someone as devoted to constitutional reform as the Liberal Democrat leader have led his party into the lobbies to vote down his coalition partner? The answer ... is 'politics'." - Times leader (£)

> Yesterday:

And there's more intra-Coalition tension on the way... this time over Mary Seacole

MS"Senior figures in the coalition government are on a collision course over the fate of the 'greatest black Briton', The Independent has learned. ... Sources close to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he is determined to put a stop to plans reportedly put in place by Education Minister Michael Gove to remove Mary Seacole, renowned for giving sanctuary to soldiers during the Crimean War, from the National Curriculum." - Independent

  • "Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats’ former Treasury spokesman, told Mr Cameron in a letter: 'Your campaign as chairman of the G8 against tax dodging by big companies will be holed below the waterline if you keep Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, on your Business Advisory Panel.' - Independent

Michael Gove's English Baccalaureate has been rejected by the Welsh Government - Independent

Tory plans to reach out to ethnic minorities and other groups

"With the Europe question temporarily resolved by the prime minister’s promise to hold a future referendum, the Tory leadership is again trying to emphasise its modernising credentials in the run up to the 2015 election. ... Its strategy to target these different voter groups is already building. ... Alok Sharma, the Tory vice-chairman and MP for Reading West, is meanwhile being asked to come up with ideas to appeal to black and Asian voters." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: How can the Conservatives win over more ethnic minority voters?

Elizabeth Truss summarises her childcare reforms for the Guardian

LT"Our plans will give parents the confidence they crave – that they can leave their children with people who know what they are doing. They will give women who want to work more choice and a greater chance of being able to build a career. They will offer professionals more respect and better pay. And they will let children enjoy an environment where they can learn and grow in safety." - Elizabeth Truss, Guardian 

"A senior adviser to David Cameron has said a minister 'got a little bit ahead of herself' when she indicated that 'all families' could get child care tax breaks." - Daily Telegraph

  • "The provision of affordable child care was the big idea in the Coalition’s mid-term review and was to be its dominant political theme for 2013. It has got off to a rocky start." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "Childcare arrangements are a deeply personal choice and most parents know better than any regulation what is best for their families. For it to become real choice, however, affordable childcare is a must." - Times leader (£)
  • "The biggest danger of the lot is that quality will suffer as childcare 'class sizes' rocket in places where parents have no choice but to go with the cheapest nursery, while parents in more prosperous parts of town continue to finance two-to-one or three-to-one care." - Guardian leader

> Yesterday:

The HS2 row steams on, dragging George Osborne along with it

Hs2"Yesterday – in a press release issued by Tory-run Cheshire East Council – its leader Michael Jones suggested that Mr Osborne had fought to keep the line away from the eastern side of the seat. This avoids Tatton’s so called ‘Golden Triangle’ of Tory-voting Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. ... A spokesman for Mr Osborne said: ‘Cheshire East put something out but corrected it when they realised they were wrong. We have made clear throughout the process that George has never sought to influence the route.’" - Daily Mail

  • "HS2 likely to cause 'pain, misery and disappointment' to locals, says Nick Boles" - Daily Telegraph

Theresa May looks to fast-track the best new police recruits

"New recruits could be fast-tracked to be chief constables within ten years under plans announced today to attract the brightest and the best into policing ... The proposal is part of a package of measures under which foreign police chiefs would be able to become chief constables and buisnessmen could join the police at the rank of superintendent." - The Times (£)

The Government is in a "spin over sugar", suggests the FT

Sugar"Owen Paterson, environment secretary, has told his French counterpart that Europe’s 'counterproductive' quotas and tariffs on sugar – which European lawmakers last week voted to extend through 2020 – should be scrapped. 'They are bad for business and bad for consumers,' he said. ... However, the message from the health department is that it is sugar itself that is bad for consumers: a 'hidden nasty' lurking in all sorts of processed foods and fizzy drinks." - Financial Times (£)

Is the RSPCA becoming a "political prosecutor"? Sir Edward Garnier fears so; Dominic Grieve says not

"The RSPCA risks becoming a ‘political prosecutor’ rather than an animal welfare organisation, a senior Tory warned yesterday. ... Sir Edward Garnier, the former solicitor general, said the costs of a recent case involving David Cameron’s local hunt were far too high. ... But Dominic Grieve, speaking for the Government, told MPs the charity had the right to bring private prosecutions and that it performed a ‘valuable role’ bringing cruelty cases which might otherwise go unprosecuted." - Daily Mail

Baroness Verma speaks out on behalf of motorists

"Motorists are being 'ripped off at the pump' as a result of price-fixing by petrol companies, the Energy Minister has said ... Speaking in the House of Lords, Lady Verma said that ministers were looking at how energy companies could be 'encouraged' to pass on savings'." - The Times (£)

"Boris Johnson’s chief economic adviser has hit out at the credibility of rating agencies as he backed the London mayor’s proposals to boost investment in the capital’s infrastructure." - Financial Times (£)

MPs warn of councils sinking under the weight of cuts yet to come

Cuts"Whitehall’s financial watchdog has raised the spectre of 'multiple failures' of councils against the backdrop of more cuts into the next parliament. ... Local auditors have concluded that 12 per cent of local authorities were at an 'ongoing risk of being unable to balance their budgets', according to the National Audit Office." - Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday on Local Government:

"Child asylum seekers are living in destitiution in Britain – with their mothers forced into prositution – because of failures in the support system, a Parliamentary report has found." - Independent

Did Miliband Major talk Miliband Minor out of an In/Out Referendum?

DM"The under-fire Labour leader’s refusal to offer a nationwide vote on Britain’s membership has infuriated some senior party figures. ... One claimed Ed vetoed an In-Out poll after his older sibling sneered it was 'too populist'. ... Ex-Foreign Secretary David — who lost out to his brother in the party leadership contest — also warned the risk of the nation voting to quit was too great. Pal Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, also backed the view, it was claimed." - The Sun

> Yesterday, by Greg Clark MP on Comment: EU renegotiation can be achieved

Labour wants an extra tax on bankers' bonuses

"Labour has urged ministers to impose an extra tax on bankers, as the party turned on the 'bumper bonus round' about to be paid in an industry mired in rate-fixing and mis-selling scandals. ... Chris Leslie, the shadow City minister, said: 'There should be fair rewards for performance, but these bonuses follow the Libor-fixing and mis-selling scandals that have been exposed in recent months.'" - Financial Times (£)

And Labour also wants all new gas-fired power plants to install technology to reduce their carbon emissions - Independent

Ivan Lewis outlines Labour's plans for a "social contract without borders"

"Our overarching aims should be measurable: by 2030 we want to have eliminated absolute poverty, begun to reduce inequality, protected scarce planetary resources and ended aid dependency." - Ivan Lewis, Guardian

Cash for policy? Labour under fire for taking money from anti-badger cull campaigners

Badger"John Glen, a Tory MP, said: 'We already know Ed Miliband’s union paymasters dictate Labour policy. These donations bear all the hallmarks of more cash for policy. Labour, yet again, have serious questions to answer over how their financial backers influence the way Labour vote in our Parliament.'" - Daily Telegraph

Teachers ignore their unions

"Most teachers are ignoring a 'work-to-rule' ordered by their two biggest unions as the battle to reverse the Government's education reforms falters ... a survey seen by the Times suggests that teachers are ignoring their unions in almost three quarters of schools. Another 18 per cent said that staff were boycotting some duties but that this was having little or no impact." - The Times (£)

The new Archbishop of Canterbury compares today's poverty to that of the 1930s

Justin Welby"In a farewell service as the outgoing Bishop of Durham, he said: ‘Children are going without sufficient food which I found particularly shocking and distressing. ... ‘This was something I had thought would have been eradicated by now.’ ... He added: ‘We are seeing things we thought had disappeared in the Thirties. Not on remotely the same scale but traces here and there.’" - Daily Mail

The House of Lords is in a mess, reckons Alice Thomson

"The House of Lords has become more acrimonious than the Commons. There are now 760 peers, and there are not enough ermine robes available to rent for the opening of Parliament. The peers now squabble about everything from coat pegs to parking spaces and whose legislation they will thwart." - Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

The head of the Met believes that people should face mandatory drug tests at work - Daily Mail

  • "Three police forces have abandoned a planned outsourcing contract with the security company G4S after their newly appointed police and crime commissioners vetoed the deal." - Financial Times (£)

"People who have been given police cautions for theft will be free to work in care homes, schools and hospitals despite their criminal past, under a human rights ruling."Daily Mail

Daniel Finkelstein draws some important lessons from the Holocaust

DF"Wouldn't it be good if no one ever had to die to allow others to live, and freedom didn't need to protect itself with a rifle, and little girls could go to school in Pakistan without being shot? I want that world as fervently as anyone else. ... But one of the lessons of the Holocaust is that wanted it is not enough." - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

And finally 1)... Nick Griffin's fundraising ideas

"Nick Griffin, leader of the cash strapped far-right BNP, once fed his family on a rabbit that had been killed on the road. .. This was one of the strange revelations from an hour long speech he delivered in Coventry at the weekend ... he [also] urged every local BNP branch to have 'an eBay officer' – presumably to keep an eye out for bargains that could fill the party’s empty coffers. He also shared a fund raising idea with his audience. 'We are going to begin collecting scrap. Have you any idea of the price of copper?' he said." - Independent

And finally 2)... A Brit does well abroad: civil servant wins French award for his cheeses

"Though judged to be one of France’s foremost experts on the food, 30-year-old Matt has been in the cheese business for little more than a year. Until 2011, he was working for the National Audit Office as an accountant. ... When he learned his employer was offering unpaid sabbaticals of up to two years — a kind of ‘trial separation’, as he puts it — he seized the chance to swap his calculator for a cheese wire." - Daily Mail

  • "France is totally bankrupt," says ... the French employment minister - Independent

And finally 3)... Another Brit does well abroad: Tony Blair receives an award from Poland

Tony Blair"In Britain, his ‘open door’ immigration policies have been criticised by all sides. ... But in Poland, which was transformed by entry into the EU, Tony Blair is feted as a hero. ... And yesterday the former Prime Minister was handed a special award for helping hundreds of thousands of Poles come to live in the UK." - Daily Mail


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