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23 Jan 2013 07:55:41

Newslinks for Wednesday 23rd January 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 21.24.369.15pm International: "Britain’s scepticism, its non-conformism and its liberalism were always the engine for Europe. Nothing is final. What is needed today is a German-British axis. It is now a question of Europe’s future, not its past" - Die Welt. Reaction abroad to Cameron's Europe speech.

6pm ToryDiary: Who deserves most credit for today's Cameron speech?

5pm LeftWatch: Has Polly Toynbee actually read what Tim Montgomerie writes?

4pm Over on Comment, Ian Birrell—a former speechwriter to David Cameron—has annotated a copy of the PM's Europe speech

2pm Christopher Howarth on Comment: The Conservative tribes should—and should be able to—unite behind Cameron’s speech

PMQs1.30pm ToryDiary Ed Miliband issues the Anti People’s Pledge in PMQs

12.45pm UPDATE: The ConservativeHome Jury in response to David Cameron's speech now includes the thoughts of Bernard Jenkin MP

11.45am UPDATE: The ConservativeHome Jury in response to David Cameron's speech now includes the thoughts of Daniel Hannan MEP

11.30am ToryDiary: Cameron bets the farm on the kindness of strangers (and, more perilously still, his party)

10.30am The ConservativeHome Jury—including the MPs Nadine Dorries, Andrea Leadsom, Mark Reckless and Laura Sandys—gives its take on David Cameron's Europe speech

9.45am MPsETC: Full text of David Cameron's Europe speech

9.15am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: So we've got a Europe policy – now all we need is a Tory government

Britannia UngaggedToryDiary: Four reasons why Cameron's In/Out pledge could be very good news for Conservative chances at the next election

And a ToryDiary post from midnight: Cameron's historic pledge to Britain --- Vote Conservative and you'll get an In/Out referendum on Europe

Our columnist Stephan Shakespeare says that people are now slightly more likely to vote for Cameron's re-election, but they won't vote to leave the EU: " should come as no surprise that the majority for an 'out' vote that we've been recording in our in/out EU referendum tracker should have suddenly collapsed. (As my colleague Peter Kellner noted, from 51-30 to 34-40. That's a 27% swing in favour of EU membership in just eight weeks)."

Nick Pickles on Comment: European justice can be strengthened by a Home Affairs opt-out

Also on Comment, Emil Agazade responds to Daniel Hamilton's post from yesterday: Why single out Azerbaijan?

Local Government: Who will monitor the Monitoring Officers?

The Deep End: How the rise of the robots could give socialism a second chance

David Cameron pledges an In/Out referendum on Europe


"Voters will have the chance to leave the European Union before the end of 2017, David Cameron will pledge today as he sets Britain on course for a momentous referendum. ... The Prime Minister will commit himself to winning an 'in-out' vote even if the campaign puts him at odds with much of his party or even if the EU remains largely unreformed. But he will seek to give the referendum unstoppable momentum by publishing a draft Bill before 2015 and setting a deadline of November 2017 before which it must be held." - The Times (£)

  • "So that’s that. Vote Tory and you’ll get an in-out referendum on Europe. ... Just what The Sun’s been asking for. ... David Cameron deserves considerable credit for going where his predecessors would not." - Sun leader
  • "....Mr Cameron’s speech perhaps sets a benchmark for the most pro-European speech by a self-proclaimed eurosceptic Tory leader" - George Parker, Financial Times (£)
  • "...ministers will be ringing round big inward investors after the speech reassuring them that everything will be fine. 'We will explain that it is all about the backbenchers,' says one minister, with a refreshing honesty." - David Wighton, The Times (£)

> Today:

> Yesterday, by Laura Sandys MP on Comment: In Europe, who would want to be the Odd Man Out?

"The largest cull of the army in two decades"

Defence cuts"Members of Prince Harry’s flying wing will be among 5,300 soldiers facing the sack in the largest cull of the Army in two decades. ... Threatened troops face five months of uncertainty after the planned redundancies, announced yesterday, caused dismay in the ranks." - The Times (£)

  • "Prisoners are to keep on getting housing benefit — while squaddies’ families will lose out under Government reforms." - The Sun
  • Three new £650m spy planes cannot refuel in mid-air - Daily Mail

And the newspapers respond:

  • "Mr Cameron cannot have it both ways. Either he must restrain his ambitions and accept that Britain is destined to become just another middle-ranking European power, or he should use the next defence review in 2015 to develop a more ambitious strategy that builds on the unrivalled skills of our Armed Forces." - Daily Telegraph leader
  • "Nobody disputes that cuts must be made across Whitehall – and the MoD, with its vast and incompetent bureaucracy, was always a prime target. ... But to cut front-line numbers, while entangling our Forces in another country’s war, is simply indefensible." - Daily Mail leader
  • "If it looks as though the pessimists are right and the Government is wrong about the effects of cuts on the military, they will have to be reversed. Opting out is not an option." - Times leader
  • "The continued slashing of our troop numbers looks more and more baffling." - Sun leader

> Yesterday:

Tony Blair backs David Cameron's stand against al-Qaeda in north Africa

Blair"We cannot afford to allow large areas of our world, no matter how remote or inhospitable they might seem, to fall under the control of those determined to export their brand of violence and hatred. ... I wish I could say it was straightforward, or that there will be no more tragedies. ... But David Cameron is right to warn that this is a battle for our values and way of life which will take years, even decades. ... It is also a battle we cannot shirk." - Tony Blair, The Sun

  • "The new War on Terror won’t be won by armies, but by helping moderate Muslim governments defeat extremism" - Paddy Ashdown, The Times (£)
  • "The choice in the Sahel is not between doing nothing, and intervening with British and other Western nation’s combat forces. There is a wiser and more effective response that combines diplomacy, development, politics and security." - Douglas Alexander, Independent
  • "Only a political settlement, guaranteed by regional African forces, can end the conflict." - Seumas Milne, Guardian

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: David Cameron: "This evolving threat demands an international response"

George Osborne faces Cabinet "revolt" over further cuts

Osborne"George Osborne on Tuesday faced a cabinet revolt over spending cuts, as senior ministers warned their budgets were already at their limits and that he should look elsewhere for savings. ... Theresa May, the home secretary, Vince Cable, the business secretary, and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, urged the chancellor to reconsider his strategy for reducing the budget deficit." - Financial Times (£)

Fears for Britain's AAA rating, after underwhelming fiscal data...

 "Britain's coveted credit rating was hanging by a thread last night as the country sank deeper into the red. ... Official figures showed the Government borrowed £15.4billion last month, up from £14.8billion a year earlier, fuelling fears that Britain will be stripped of its gold-plated AAA credit rating." - Daily Mail

  • "Britain forked out almost £520million a day on benefits last month — as debts soared to a new high." - The Sun

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Welcome to Gloomsville, George Osborne

...although Mervyn King reckons there's cause for hope

"The economy is springing back to life and there are ‘good reasons to suppose a gentle recovery is under way’, the governor of the Bank of England said last night. ... Delivering his most upbeat speech since the financial crisis, Sir Mervyn outlined a set of policies which he said could ‘roll back the dark cloud of uncertainty’ hanging over the economy." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on the Deep End: For economic growth you first need to have the potential for growth

The Independent writes up Greg Clark's article for ConservativeHome yesterday

Weekly letter"A Treasury minister has warned the Conservative Party not to divide the British people into 'shirkers and strivers' as it defends the Government’s squeeze on the welfare budget. ... Mr Clark said that 'worklessness is a complex problem' and that 'talk about "shirkers" is too simplistic.'  Writing on the ConservativeHome website, Mr Clark said there is nothing wrong with being a 'striver' but argued that not everyone wants to be one." - Independent

  • Get religious groups on board with Work Programme, think tank urges - Independent

> From yesterday, Greg Clark MP's latest letter from a Treasury minister: It’s not all about ‘shirkers’ and ‘strivers’ – we must be the party of ordinary working people 

Anna Soubry suggests that people from poor backgrounds are more likely to be overweight

"'When I go to my constituency, in fact when I walk around, you can almost now tell somebody’s background by their weight,' she said. 'Obviously, not everybody who is overweight comes from deprived backgrounds but that’s where the propensity lies.'" - Daily Telegraph

Oliver Letwin to publish plans for press regulation

Letwin"Oliver Letwin is expected this week to publish his proposals for press regulation backed by a royal charter in an effort to flush out an agreement between the main political parties in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. ... The Cabinet Office minister’s decision to put forward a royal charter rather than new legislation comes as cross-party talks between Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians hit a stalemate." - Financial Times (£)

  • Labour wants vote on Leveson report proposals within two weeks - Guardian
  • A Sun reporter and a former police officer face corruption charges - Daily Mail
  • "Brussels was accused of a ‘flagrant attack on Press freedom’ last night after a major report proposed giving the EU draconian powers to control the media and even sack journalists." - Daily Mail

Michael Gove primes the new A-level examinations

"Under the radical plans, pupils who start their courses in September 2015 will no longer sit simpler AS-levels after one year of their course as a stepping stone to A-levels. ... Mr Gove has written to exams watchdog Ofqual revealing that he has secured the backing of the  Russell Group of top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, to oversee the new A-levels." - Daily Mail

  • "Thousands of head teachers defied Michael Gove and closed their schools yesterday despite a warning from the Education Secretary that they should do “everything” to ensure children were being taught throughout the cold spell." - The Times (£)
  • Academy to spend £32,000 of taxpayer cash to send teachers and pupils to New York - Daily Mail
  • MPs criticise schools’ career services - Financial Times (£)

Eric Pickles highlights the cost of "problem families"

Pickles"Layabout problem families are costing taxpayers up to £100,000-a-year each, figures show today. ... Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will today declare councils can save billions of pounds a year tackling the issue." - The Sun

  • "Why our work on troubled families is so important" - Eric Pickles, Daily Telegraph

Bill Bratton tells No.10: Come and get me

"The American 'supercop' who David Cameron would like to see take charge of Scotland Yard said last night that he was ready and able to take on the biggest job in British policing." - The Times (£)

Ministers want to shake-up the honours system

"Ministers have ordered a shake-up of the honours system amid fury that Mo Farah did not get a knighthood and Jimmy Savile cannot be stripped of his. ... Tories are amazed that the civil servant at the Department of Education who is responsible for picking those who get honours was himself granted an gong this year." - Daily Mail

Nick de Bois warns that our best talents are leaving Britain

NdB"The Coalition Government is picking up the pieces of the last government’s failure, and I would suggest that it is crucial that policy experts and strategic thinkers pay close attention to this issue. Work needs to begin on keeping people here and not relying on importing others to fill the gap." - Nick de Bois MP, Daily Telegraph

Tories are miles behind Labour when it comes to support from women - Daily Mail

"A gay businessman who quit the Tories over their attitude to homosexuality is hoping to become an MP for the party." - Daily Mail

  • "Edward Leigh, the Tory MP, is calling for a change to the Equality Act to prevent a repeat of the case of a Christian housing trust manager who was demoted for airing his views on gay marriage on Facebook." - Daily Telegraph

"The Conservative group leader at Cornwall council has quit her post over the use of 'lie detector' tests on people claiming benefits." - Guardian

  • "The number of ‘snooping’ powers available to town halls and public bodies has risen despite Coalition pledges to rein them in" - Daily Mail

Nick Clegg warned that he's opening a "Royal Pandora's box" with succession changes

Nick Clegg"The Deputy Prime Minister told the Commons that rules giving precedence to men and the ban on heirs marrying Roman Catholics belonged to a ‘bygone era’. ... But MPs said the Succession to the Crown Bill was being ‘rushed’ through Parliament." - Daily Mail

  • "First-born daughters of British aristocrats should be able to inherit their fathers’ titles, one of only two female hereditary peers in the House of Lords has said." - The Times (£)

Danny Alexander says there's no need for a like-for-like Trident replacement

"In an interview with the Guardian, Alexander said MPs from all parties and senior officers in the military should accept there are 'credible and compelling alternatives' to continuous at-sea deterrence, and he warned that the Treasury did not have 'a magic pot of money' to pay for a new generation of Successor submarines." - Guardian

  • Read the full interview here
  • "Trident will not protect us" - Nick Harvey, Guardian

Labour go on the attack over social care

"David Cameron is in danger of acting in an 'extremely foolish' manner if the government introduces a cap of £75,000 on the costs of long-term care for the elderly, Labour has warned. ... the shadow social care minister, Liz Kendall, says ministers must implement a 'carefully balanced package' drawn up by an independent commission." - Guardian

  • "Fear of the grey vote has turned our politicians into cowards" - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

MPs are racking up over £4 million a year in travel expenses - Daily Mail

SNP ministers want "extensive" powers over universities - Daily Telegraph

The suicide rate among men aged 45 to 59 is at its highest level for 25 years - Financial Times (£)

And finally 1)... David Cameron avoids an open mic disaster

Mic"When David Cameron last appeared at the National Television Awards, he shocked the film crew by discussing sensitive political matters with his fellow Conservative guest David Davis. The Conservative leader had to be reminded that he was on an open microphone and everyone on set was sworn to secrecy. ... Happily, no such calamity can befall the Prime Minister on Wednesday as his appearance on the awards show, which will be screened by ITV, has been pre-recorded." - the Daily Telegraph's Mandrake column

And finally 2)... is Joe Biden positioning himself for a shot at the Presidency?

Joe Biden"Joe Biden in 2016? The inauguration is barely over but the vice president already is dropping plenty of hints that he might have another political act. ... Biden packed his schedule with events and receptions attended by party stalwarts throughout the long weekend of inauguration festivities, stoking speculation he may be laying the groundwork to carry the torch from President Barack Obama." - Daily Mail

  • "Obama is far better at hope than at audacity" - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on International: Thirteen thoughts on the future of American conservatism


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

22 Jan 2013 08:31:40

Newslinks for Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Midnight ToryDiary: Cameron's historic pledge to Britain --- Vote Conservative and you'll get an In/Out referendum on Europe

10pm MPsETC: Derek Thomas selected to contest St Ives in 2015

6.30pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: Mid-term splits don't lose elections, but wrong policies and strategies do

Defence cuts4.30pm WATCH: A defence cuts double-bill...

3.15pm Bendict Rogers on Comment: UK should lead the way on North Korea: accountability, information, critical engagement

1.30pm Daniel Hamilton on Comment: We should register our discontent about Azerbaijan's human rights record

12.45pm ToryDiary: Welcome to Gloomsville, George Osborne

Noon Local Government: The Left's self-serving defence charity "sock puppets"

10am Laura Sandys MP on Comment: In Europe, who would want to be the Odd Man Out?

ToryDiary: David Cameron's running battle with military chiefs

Weekly letterGreg Clark MP's latest letter from a Treasury minister: It’s not all about ‘shirkers’ and ‘strivers’ – we must be the party of ordinary working people

Gareth Johnson MP on Comment: Let's balance the scales of justice

International: Thirteen thoughts on the future of American conservatism

Local Government: Councils advised to scrap "Equalities Impact Assessments" 

The Deep End: For economic growth you first need to have the potential for growth

WATCH: David Cameron: "This evolving threat demands an international response"

David Cameron offers further support to the French in Mali – could more follow?

Times cover"Britain is to send spy planes, unmanned drones and special forces to Mali to ‘find and dismantle’ the Al Qaeda network behind the slaughter in Algeria. ... The Prime Minister said the UK must ‘act with an iron resolve’ to tackle what he called a ‘generational struggle’ against the ‘scourge of terrorism’ after the Algerian attack." - Daily Mail

"The Times understands that units from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF are on 'high readiness' to deploy if requested in support of France, which is attempting to repel Islamist extremists from the north of the country." - The Times (£)

"Defence bosses want to block David Cameron’s bid to join a war against al-Qaeda in North Africa." - The Sun

  • Prince Harry reveals that he has killed enemy forces in Afghanistan - Daily Mail

> Today on ToryDiary: 

> Yesterday, by Mark Field MP on Comment: Will the Amenas gas plant siege be the first skirmish of many?

And the papers respond

  • Janan Ganesh"In a sense, [Mr Cameron] is a better custodian of Mr Blair’s foreign policy than Mr Blair himself. He buys the former prime minister’s basic arguments but filters them through a very Tory temperament before taking action. It is hard to imagine him overreaching." - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times (£)
  • "As Cameron moves onto dangerous terrain, he is lucky to have a Foreign Secretary with experience but no political ambition" - Steve Richards, Independent
  • "Nobody could call the War on Terror a crusade today. It’s a cynical, weary, jaded, compromised and compromising thing, unconcerned with human destiny and concerned only with human safety. Think of all the fuss we could have skipped if that was how we’d started out." - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • "The juxtaposition of the hostage crisis and the Europe debate highlights a clash between new and old politics within Mr Cameron." - Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • "A year ago, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were cheerleaders for the Arab Spring which, for all the understandable euphoria at the time, did so much to destabilise the region." - Daily Mail leader

That Europe speech will be delivered tomorrow...

DC 2"David Cameron will finally deliver his long-delayed speech promising a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the European Union on Wednesday, Downing Street has announced. ... Mr Cameron will now stay closer to home to set out his European vision and make the speech in central London ahead of appearing at Prime Minister’s Question Time." - Independent

  • Then there is the immediate challenge of his Europe speech tomorrow. ... The indications are that it will serve for now, but he has opened a debate about what he can and cannot achieve in Brussels that will dog him to the end of this parliament." - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • "British foreign policy in Europe has long been marked by a desire to intrude upon, if not break down, the Franco-German duumvirate" - Dominic Lawson, Independent

> Yesterday: Conservative europhiles decide to back a referendum

"Conservative europhiles are to swing behind David Cameron’s call for a referendum on the European Union amid fears that failing to embrace the merits of a public vote would hurt the 'yes' campaign. ... A group of about 30 MPs who make up the pro-European wing of the party will meet next week to discuss their approach to such a vote." - The Times (£)

  • Eric Pickles appeals for Tory unity over PM's Europe speech - Daily Telegraph

What is the Prime Minister's "golden thread"?

Golden thread"The international development committee has called on David Cameron, the UK prime minister, to give a 'clear and consistent' definition of what he means by the 'golden thread' of development as he seeks to influence global policy on poverty reduction." - Guardian

Chris Grayling highlights the cost of legal aid to the taxpayer – as he looks to restrict it

"Two gangs of Al Qaeda terrorists who plotted to inflict mass murder on the British public shared more than £30 million in legal aid, it emerged last night. ... Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the revelations: 'Of course everyone deserves a defence. ... But when you look at costs involved in some cases, you have to ask whether we can afford to provide this level of support in criminal trials.'" - Daily Mail

  • "Justice works across borders without Brussels" - Dominic Raab, The Times (£)

SnowfallMichael Gove urges schools to stay open in the snow - The Times (£)

  • Snowball fight! Headmaster condemns "over-cautious" schools for shutting their gates at the first sign of bad weather - Daily Mail
  • "Be honest, how many times can you remember your old school being closed because of the weather? Once? Twice? Never?" - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

Exeter University backs free school for maths - Guardian

> Yesterday, by Dr Owen Corrigan on Comment: Let's focus on high quality technical and vocational education

"Charities afraid to challenge public policy amid retribution fears" - Guardian

Nick Boles wants offices to be converted into homes

Boles"Developers will be able to convert offices into flats without council permission under government plans to deliver more new homes. ... Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, will announce changes to the planning system this week designed to increase the number of homes coming on to the market in towns and cities." - The Times (£)

Making workers work for the universal credit

"Nearly 1m people who are in work and claim benefits may be required to work longer, increase their earnings or face losing access to the new universal credit, two welfare ministers, Lord Freud and Mark Hoban, said on Monday. ... The state's capacity to ask more of those in work and those that are self-employed is likely to be transformed by the introduction of universal credit in April, the ministers said at a Policy Exchange event." - Guardian

Planning experts write to Patrick McLoughlin – and urge his Department to back up claims with proof

"Ministers should stop promising that controversial road-building and high speed rail schemes will give economic boosts to Britain unless they can present real ‘evidence’ to back up their claims, the UK’s  top transport planners said today. ... The broadside came in a letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin from 32 leading professors of transport and the two major professional bodies which together represent more than 3,000 UK transport planners." - Daily Mail

  • Ministers under pressure to fund separate cycle lanes - The Times (£)

The expected level of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria: will the Government soon have a figure?

Romania and Bulgaria"Despite ministers’ silence on the estimated figure, the Financial Times understands that the Foreign Office has commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research to prepare an independent estimate which, officials say, will be published 'sooner rather than later'." - Financial Times (£)

  • "Ministers are under pressure to allow migrant workers from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey into the UK to mitigate a predicted shortage of fruit pickers" - Financial Times (£)

"Plans to fast-track a royal succession Bill before the birth of the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were attacked by peers last night." - The Times (£)

  • "An unseemly rush to alter the succession" - Daily Telegraph leader

"The growth of wind farms and other renewable energy projects is heading for a sharp slowdown after 2020 according to official forecasts" - Financial Times (£)

Labour would reverse the Government's benefit uprating policy... oh, no, actually, maybe they wouldn't

Timms"Ed Miliband was forced to slap down his own welfare spokesman last night after he appeared to commit Labour to a £2 billion a year increase in benefits to ensure handouts rise faster than wages. ... Speaking in the Commons last night the shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said it was Labour’s policy to increase benefits by the rate of inflation each year, even though wages have crept up by a lower amount for years." - Daily Mail

Diane Abbott to warn about the "pornification" of children's lives

"Children are being seriously damaged by the ‘pornification’ of British culture, a senior Labour figure will warn today. ... After David Cameron’s new childhood guru Claire Perry warned on Sunday that parents must challenge children about their text and internet messages, Miss Abbott will agree that there is a pernicious culture of ‘sexting, slut-shaming and striptease’ in schools." - Daily Mail

Denis MacShane faces a renewed police investigation into his expenses - The Times (£)

The Director of Public Prosecutions vows to get tough on tax evaders – and not just the rich ones

£coins"Middle earners who dodge tax will be targeted in a major crackdown by the Crown Prosecution Service. ... Keir Starmer will say it is a ‘long-standing myth’ that tax evasion – by outright fraud or concealment – is a victimless crime." - Daily Mail

  • "A group of top finance directors has joined the fray as big business seeks to confront intense public scrutiny of corporate tax planning, saying companies’ tax treatment has undergone a 'dramatic change' in recent years and that the overall burden they face has increased." - Financial Times (£)

"Thousands of patients are dying in hospitals each year because there are not enough doctors or nurses, research shows." - Daily Mail

  • Hospital pays £1,800 a day for a nurse in NHS staff crisis - Daily Telegraph

Peter Oborne: Israel’s moderate voices won't be heard at this general election - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

And finally... Barack Obama soaks in the view

Obama" [Barack Obama] left his public swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol building early this afternoon, he was seen pausing a moment to look back towards the crowds and reflect on the vast sea of people before him. ... 'I want to look out one more time because I'm not going to see this again,' he said quietly to someone next to him as he took in the spectacular view." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Dr David Green on Comment: Is Britain content to be a useful outpost of American foreign policy?


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

21 Jan 2013 08:26:07

Newslinks for Monday 21st January 2013

5.15pm Local government: Labour councillors sign pledge against budget cuts

3pm LeftWatch: The EU's huge funding for fascists and communists

2.30pm Dr Owen Corrigan on Comment: Let's focus on high quality technical and vocational education

Noon: ToryDiary: Lib Dems have no credibility in opposing an in/out EU referendum

Markfield11am Mark Field MP on Comment asks Will the Amenas gas plant siege be the first skirmish of many?

ToryDiary: Let's acknowledge that Cameron has moved towards the Conservative Mainstream in recent months

Dr David Green on Comment: Is Britain content to be a useful outpost of American foreign policy?

Majority Conservatism: Cameron should take up Alok Sharma's call for listed companies to disclose their ethnic balance

International: Narrow defeat for Merkel's CDU points to close federal election

Local government: Cllr Simon Cook says: Abolish the county councils

The Deep End: Is leaving the EU that big a deal anyway?

TelegraphfrontdecadesDavid Cameron to update MPs on Islamist terror

"David Cameron will address MPs on the Algerian hostage crisis later, as efforts continue to locate three remaining Britons feared dead. The prime minister has said there could be a decades-long battle against Islamist terrorism in north Africa." - BBC

  • "Few would argue with David Cameron’s resolve to take the fight to al-Qaeda in Africa in the wake of the Algerian atrocity. And he is right to caution there is no quick fix — rather a war that will take “years, even decades." But how does that square with a defence policy that will reduce the size of the Army by a fifth by the end of this decade?" The Sun Says
>WATCH: Cameron confirms British hostage deaths

Hague says there is a "strong case" for in/out referendum...

"We want to get a better relationship with the EU - there are changes we want in that relationship," he told the Andrew Marr show..."But when we have done that there is a strong case for fresh consent in this country and the people of this country having their say." - BBC

  • "By Sunday, it was clear that David Cameron would not be able to deliver the speech on Monday as planned, but would have to wait until later in the week. Aides said Wednesday is now the most likely date. Mr Cameron will use the speech to set out why he thinks the UK should stay in the EU, but he is also expected to promise a renegotiation of terms, followed by an in/out referendum." - Financial Times
  • "The Ukip position, of course, is simpler: we want to leave. That allows Mr Farage to depict even Mr Hague as pro-EU, a quite remarkable outcome for those who remember the Hague leadership." James Kirkup Daily Telegraph
>WATCH: Farage - "No deal with Cameron"
>ToryDiary: Exclusive - EU memo to the Prime Minister from his Political Adviser.

Fox...Liam Fox is satisfied...

“If that is the speech that is finally delivered, a great many of us will think it’s a speech we have been waiting a long time for any Prime Minister to deliver,” he told BBC One’s Sunday Politics.... “I think ultimately there has to be an in-out referendum..." - Daily Telegraph

...and Lord Owen says we should get on with it

"Treaty amendment should not wait until 2015. Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems can co-operate while remaining free to urge the electorate to vote to stay in the single market or come out of the EU. ...I believe the people of this country want and deserve a referendum. They do not trust politicians on Europe." David Owen The Guardian

HeywoodSir Jeremy Heywood rebuked over "plebgate"

"Sir Jeremy Heywood should have urged a wider probe into "discrepancies" of accounts between the MP and police, the Public Administration Committee said. The cabinet secretary was the wrong man to investigate the claims, it added." - BBC

  • "Cameron should have involved Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on ministers' interests." - The Guardian
  • "The implication of the Public Administration Select Committee report is that Mr Mitchell could have won his battle to keep his job if Sir Jeremy, the Cabinet Secretary, had spent more time scrutinising the original claims." - The Independent
  • "One of the first calls David Cameron makes when he starts work in the Downing Street flat at 5.45am is to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. He is one of the last people he speaks to at night." - Daily Mail

TheresamayTheresa May plans to hire US supercops

"Theresa May, the Home Secretary, intends to change the law to allow candidates such as Bill Bratton, the former head of the New York police, to fight crime in the UK. Mr Bratton was blocked from applying for the role of Metropolitan Police Commissioner amid objections that his appointment would have torn up the convention that British citizens should police their own communities." - Daily Telegraph

 Ministers had free Olympics tickets

"While former Treasury minister Lord Sassoon used the costliest ticket, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt received the most tickets totalling £605 and watched two cycling events, diving, football and gymnastics. A spokeswoman from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told BBC News.."The government paid-for tickets were used to invite and accompany a number of international and domestic political and business leaders.." - BBC

JeremyhuntInterviewed for The Guardian, Jeremy Hunt says there is neglect across the NHS

"The kind of neglect that disgraced Stafford hospital, where patients were left in soiled sheets, sitting on commodes for hours at a time and often denied pain relief, exists across the NHS, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said." - The Guardian

Tim Montgomerie says non-intervention endangers our interests

"The West may not be able to intervene everywhere but non-intervention is usually not only inhumane, it also endangers our strategic interests. In the not-too-distant future Assad will either be toppled or most of Syria will fall under the control of opposition forces. Those forces, now heavily radicalised and in alliance with extreme Islamist groups, won’t quickly forget the lack of American help." - The Times (£)

  • "Washington’s use of force is now wary, exercised through drone strikes and special forces’ operations, or by proxy with the provision of hardware such as Cruise missiles, while remaining in the background. In the end, however, events may force America back into a more
    assertive role – not least to confront the new threat developing in north Africa." - Daily Telegraph editorial

BorisBoris Johnson warns of mini-ice age

"No one contests that when the planet palpably cooled from 1645 to 1715 — the Maunder minimum, which saw the freezing of the Thames — there was a diminution of solar activity....And it is the view of Piers Corbyn that we are now seeing exactly the same phenomenon today. ...Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age. But it doesn’t seem as nuts as it did five years ago. I look at the snowy waste outside, and I have an open mind." Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraph

MailfrontperryClaire Perry says parents should "snoop" on their children

"The Tory MP for Devizes has now called on parents to take responsibility and challenge their offspring about their use of technology and the internet – even demanding to look when necessary. If they want to keep youngsters offline at 2am adults should simply turn off the router when they go to bed..." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Mrs Perry’s reward for her good sense is, predictably, a ‘crowd of hateful Twitter followers’ who want to undermine her work by labelling her the ‘Mary Whitehouse of the 2010s’. We trust the Prime Minister, having given Mrs Perry the job, will back her all the way – however loud the protests from those businesses who make millions of pounds from sexualising the young." - Daily Mail editorial

Baker: I stood by Thatcher

"When the knives were out, and the coup that would oust her was under way, "People told me: 'You must abandon her and drop her and move on.' But I stood by her." " - Interview with Lord Baker in The Guardian

Scots Tories back more devolution

"The pro-UK parties will all have put forward a vision of more powers for the Scottish Parliament before the Scottish Government produces its white paper on independence in the autumn this year, Tory Scotland Office minister David Mundell has claimed." - The Scotsman

HeathAllister Heath warns of triple dip

"Britain is dangerously close to being in a triple-dip recession – and partly as a result we are now seeing a three-speed world economy. We will know on Friday whether UK GDP shrank again in the last quarter of last year. Even if it did, as many expect – Capital Economics is predicting a contraction of 0.4 per cent, the NIESR of 0.3 per cent – we still won’t be in a proper triple-dip as two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP are required to constitute a recession. But it will still be awful news." - Allister Heath in City AM

  • House prices will reach pre-crash level by next year - Metro

Obama sworn in for a second term - BBC

Left wins narrow victory in Lower Saxony - BBC

>International: Narrow defeat for Merkel's CDU points to close federal election

Pay MPs the minimum wage - Ross Clark in The Times(£)

And finally...Labour question backfires

"Labour tabled a parliamentary question asking the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles ‘. . . how much his department has spent on potted plants and flowers since May 2010’. Pickles thundered in reply: ‘Unlike the last government, we do not spend taxpayers’ money on pot plants or the display of cut flowers.’ His green-fingered Labour predecessor managed to spend £7,000 a year on plants." - Daily Mail


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20 Jan 2013 09:00:14

Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2013

4.15pm WATCH: Farage - "No deal with Cameron"

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 13.52.46
2pm WATCH: Cameron confirms British hostage deaths

1.30pm ToryDiary: Exclusive - EU memo to the Prime Minister from his Political Adviser. "The Cabinet has already been informed that its members will be required to support a Yes vote in the event of an In/Out referedendum.  As we correctly anticipated, members opposed to Britain's EU membership will have calculated that the referendum is a long way away and thus will not resign, at least before the next election."

11am LeftWatch: How Miliband and Clegg worked together to block the boundary reforms

ToryDiary: "Rebel reserve" of 55 Conservative MPs "is being gathered for Cameron leadership challenge"

Richard Pater on Comment: Who will be in Israel’s Next Government?

WATCH: ‪UK to rule forced marriage a criminal offence‬

Algeria: At least 5 Britons dead or missing

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 08.16.19
"Algeria's special forces stormed the gas complex, jointly run by BP and staffed by many British workers, after reports that the extremists had begun shooting foreigners they had kidnapped. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said five Britons and one UK resident, called Carlos Estrada, remained "unaccounted for" and the country had to “prepare for bad news”. One Briton had already been confirmed dead on Wednesday." - Sunday Telegraph

Algeria: Cameron - We will root out terror

"Prime Minister David Cameron last night vowed to 'root out and defeat this terrorist scourge and those who encourage it'…Mr Cameron said: 'I know that the whole country shares my sympathy and concern for everyone who has been caught up in this incident, and for their friends and families. 'It is our priority now to get people home as quickly as possible and to look after the survivors.' " - Mail on Sunday

Matthew D'Ancona: Fleet-footed Al Qaeda…and the cumbersome EU

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 08.19.07"The scope of the Obama-Cameron telephone call captures the sheer breadth of the supranational issues now confronting the PM. On the one hand, he is trying to resolve a question that is a fundamental bequest of the 20th century: what is Britain’s most advantageous role in Europe? In this case, the arguments, categories of thought and factional divisions are wearyingly familiar. On the other, Cameron – like Obama – faces the hyper-modern phenomenon of 21st-century jihadism, a shape-shifting foe that is as fleet of foot and elusive as the EU is lumbering and bureaucratic" - Matthew D'Ancona, Sunday Telegraph

Other Comment:

  • Lethal force, not rational argument, must be our response to these violent fanatics - Liam Fox, Mail on Sunday
  • For Obama, Al-Qaeda is our problem - Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • We need craft, not a crusade, in Africa - Sunday Times (£)
  • "For the last two years, the West has looked at the region through the rose-tinted lens of the ‘Arab Spring’. Democracy was supposed to be transforming the Arab world." - Mark Almond, Mail on Sunday
  • A 100 years war we have to win - Sunday Times Editorial (£)
  • As the terror threat shifts to Africa, we must meet it with great care - Sunday Telegraph Editorial

> Yesterday:

Musicians of Mali fight for nation's soul - Ian Birrell, Independent on Sunday

Prime Minister's EU speech could come as early as tomorrow

Cameron Thoughtful"Amid uncertainty over the exact timing of the jinxed address, senior government sources told the Observer that the prime minister intends to make the speech this week – possibly on Monday – if a resolution has been found to the Algerian hostage crisis. "He wants to go ahead as soon as possible. There will be something in it which will pacify all but the hard core," said the source. "But he could deliver the same kind of speech that Margaret Thatcher gave in Bruges in 1988 and around 25 MPs would not be happy. It is not possible to please everyone." - Observer

Dominic Lawson: The lie that claims millions of jobs would be lost if we left the EU

“While Professor Begg stands by his research, he takes great exception to headlines that suggest that millions of Britons would be thrown on the dole if Britain left the single market . . . According to the people who did the research, talk of mass redundancies if Mr Cameron goes for a European exit is just scaremongering.” Professor Begg himself added: “If anyone tried to do it completely objectively” — that is, to work out analytically what the pros and cons were of leaving the EU — “you would probably find that the economic plus or minus is very small.” - Sunday Times (£)

  • Lord Wolfson: I back the single market – but not at any cost - Sunday Telegraph
  • Obama doesn’t tell South Korea to be part of China... so why should we be a bit of the EU? - Douglas Carswell, Sun on Sunday
  • Norway's 'fax democracy' is nothing for Britain to fear - Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: Tom Mludzinski on Comment - Europe is only the fifth most important issue to UKIP voters

Is there a plot to challenge Cameron? And if so is it gathering pace?

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 07.54.36"An increasing number of backbenchers are privately discussing the possibility of attempting to unseat the prime minister before the poll in 2015 if the party continues to trail in the polls. While there is no immediate threat to his position, a well-placed source said that up to 17 MPs had now written letters of “no confidence”, and there are rumours that at least one list of MPs willing to back a coup is being gathered. For the first time, discussions about ousting Cameron before 2015 appear to be spreading beyond the so-called “usual suspects” — a hard core of about 20 backbenchers who are hostile to his leadership." - Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary - "Rebel reserve" of 55 Conservative MPs "is being gathered for Cameron leadership challenge"

> Yesterday: LISTEN - More Tory MPs may break with Cameron on gay marriage than on Europe or Lords reform

Campaign fights to keep EU cross-border crime powers - Observer

May to recruit top foreign police as chief constables

May Theresa Home Office
"In the latest broadside in the battle between government and the police, Theresa May, the home secretary, will say next week that she wants to change the law to allow men such as Bill Bratton, the former police chief in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, to run British forces. Officers with “suitable and relevant experience” from America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada would be able to apply. The move was described by a former chief constable as “a smack in the face for police leadership”. It comes amid hostility between the police and the Tories after the row over claims Andrew Mitchell, then the chief whip, called a Downing Street policeman a “pleb”." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Ann Barnes, Police Commissioner for Kent, becomes first commissioner to increase the police numbers in her budget - Sunday Express

Patel and Hollobone slam Letwin over Romanian and Bulgarian EU immigration

Patel Priti"Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin was denounced by Tory MPs last night after he said the Government will not know how many Romanians and Bulgarians will emigrate to the UK – until after they have got here. The row came after the gaffe-prone strategist was challenged over the likely impact of people in the EU member states gaining the right to live and work in Britain next year." - Mail on Sunday

  • Transport Minister Stephen Hammond poised to ban driving tests in foreign languages - Sun on Sunday
  • Strict benefit rules would deter a new wave of migrants - Alisdair Palmer, Sunday Telegraph

IDS: We will catch fraudsters, and universal credit will cut error

"A fraud taskforce targeting postcodes where high levels of benefit fraud take place has vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in the search for claimant cheats. A range of new measures will be enforced as the latest figures reveal fraudsters have pocketed £5.3billion in the last five years including £1.3billion housing benefit, £1.08billion income support and £1.2billion Jobseekers’ Allowance and Pension Credit. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “The welfare state has over the years become so complex and confusing that fraudsters basically have been given the green light to pick the pockets of hard working taxpayers." - Sunday Express

  • Households with disabled person "will be average of £156 a year worse off under Government benefits plans" - Independent on Sunday

Will Somerton and Frome Conservatives select Ivan Massow? - Black Dog, Mail on Sunday

Bernard Jenkin's Public Administration Committee will say Cabinet Secretary blundered over Mitchell investigation

JENKIN-BERNARD"Britain’s most powerful mandarin faces public humiliation after MPs claimed his bungled investigation cost ‘plebgate’ ex-Tory Minister Andrew Mitchell his job. A report by a powerful Commons committee will tomorrow accuse Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood of failing to give the former Chief Whip a chance to prove he was the victim of a police conspiracy." - Mail on Sunday

  • How junior HMRC officials tried to kill of a David Gauke proposal - Sunday Times (£)

Hunt and Grayling clash over proposed closure of Epsom Hospital A & E - Mail on Sunday

Hospital pays £1,800 a day for a nurse in NHS staff crisis - Sunday Telegraph

Miliband's office and Clegg's have been closely co-ordinating over the boundary review, effectively working as a combined opposition, as the relationship between the two men thaws

"It is a significant development with considerable implications for the future that there has been a thaw over recent weeks in the relations between Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. Put very simply, the two leaders are seeing more of each other. And generally speaking they have liked what they have seen. On the believable account of extremely well-informed observers on both sides, the two men are getting on better than they have done at any time before." - Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

McCLuskey compiles "schools pack" to teach pupils how to “stand together” and fight “cuts and attacks”

Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 09.09.20"Britain’s top union boss has been accused of brainwashing after launching a secret bid to sign up schoolkids.  Unite leader Len McCluskey has set up a team of “union tutors” to target every 15-year-old in the country. The hardline Left-winger has ordered his hit-squad to visit secondary schools as part of a campaign to “educate, agitate and organise”. But the move was last night branded a “scandalous” exploitation of young people. Ex-docker Mr McCluskey let slip details of the classroom warfare after giving a lecture in London in honour of Labour leader Ed Miliband’s dad." - Sun on Sunday

  • Living wage zones could become key Labour pledge - Observer
  • Balls did the cooking for those lasagne parties - Observer

Cost of childcare keeps 2.8m parents out of jobs - Sunday Times (£)

Will figures this week show Britain on the way to a triple-dip recession? - Observer

Dutch supplier source of horse meat - Sunday Telegraph

Energy giants get a £1bn gift from taxpayers - Sun on Sunday

Almost £2 billion in court fines and confiscation orders remain unpaid - Sunday Telegraph

Scottish independence: Labour needs answer to £30bn question - Scotland on Sunday

Britain's 4.2 million self-employed workers 'face tax rise to pay for larger pensions' - Mail on Sunday

Coalition's £75,000 cap on care costs 'mean and cynical', say campaigners - Sunday Telegraph

Education Select Committee: Careers advice is failing pupils - Sunday Express

Fracking "will ruin Bath spa waters" - Sunday Express

Claim that Bob Stewart MP refused to fly economy to Pakistan and stayed at home - Mail on Sunday

Lebedev, whose family owns the Independent and Evening Standard, faces trial accused of 'hooliganism' after punching businessman on talk show - Mail on Sunday

And finally 1) Gove weeps on hearing "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music - Atticus, Sunday Times (£)*

And finally 2): The Cherwell files

  • Gove fire-hosed and scrambled egg in hair of love rival.
  • Mark Field ran “round the front quad between the strokes of midnight singing the Red Flag and wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, having been liberally covered with baby oil by girlfriend".
  • Bernard Jenkin was one of the "ringleaders of a gang that kidnapped Rupert Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill - in the aid of charity".
  • Maria Eagle slipped into the ‘nookie room’ clutching two young men. “As the noise of her squeaking leather trousers reached fever pitch, twin sister Angela moved in to even the odds with her zoom lens camera.”
  • Dominic Grieve: part of a gang that threw Damian Green in the Cherwell - Sunday Times (£)

*Like everyone else


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