Conservative Home

« February 2013 | Main | April 2013 »

31 Mar 2013 07:54:38

Newslinks for Easter Sunday 2013

6.45pm ToryDiary: If you exclude North Sea oil and the City, Britain IS recovering

5.15pm Colin Bloom on Comment: Christian Conservatives can be proud of this Coalition's record but a lot more still needs to be done


ToryDiary: David Cameron celebrates hitting 0.7% overseas aid target in his Easter message

ToryDiary: Boris should seek to return to the Commons in 2015

Joe Armitage on Comment: The cheap populism and economic illiteracy of UKIP

Matthew Sinclair on The Thinkers' Corner: The three elements of good climate policy

Video: Ann Widdecombe says mocking of Christianity has gone too far (but she also tells her favourite Christian joke)

Grant Shapps tells Patrick Hennessy that there's a 50% chance of the Tories winning a majority at the next election - The Sunday Telegraph

George Osborne faces a whispering campaign at the highest levels of the Conservative Party over his competence and judgment

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 07.46.28"There are renewed calls for Mr Osborne to give up his role coordinating the party’s campaigning, as fears mount of disastrous results in May’s English local elections. Some critics are demanding that he should be replaced as Chancellor by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary... Concerns centre on what is perceived to be his failure to understand the middle classes, their values, and their economic struggle." - The Sunday Telegraph

Janet Daley launches a stinging attack on George Osborne: The Chancellor refuses to deal with arguments, interpreting every disagreement as an act of treachery or a personal attack - The Sunday Telegraph

  • The Chancellor has a 50-50 shot of achieving the tricky triple dip - Observer
  • The Mail on Sunday's Black Dog: "Asked about George Osborne's decision to let the Bank of England's new Governor, Canadian-born Mark Carney, pump more cash into the economy, one of the Chancellor's aides confided: 'It's simple: Carney's job is to turn on the printing presses and not turn them off until the recession is over.' A cynic's translation might be: Cause as much inflation as you want if it wins us the next Election – we don't give a damn what happens afterwards."
  • "One effect of the Chancellor's monetary laxity, in generating so much money through quantitative easing, is that inflation targets have effectively been abandoned – this is falling hard on the poorest. John Major used to talk about the moral case for keeping inflation low; his successor appears to have other ideas." - Independent on Sunday leader

Boris Johnson could quite reasonably seek a parliamentary seat at the next General Election - Matt d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Johnson Boris Pointing 2

  • "After Boris admonished scheming Cabinet Ministers to ‘put a sock in it and back the Prime Minister’, Cameron joked that things must really be getting bad if Boris was trying to be helpful." - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday
  • Boris is deadly serious about wanting the top job - Adam Boulton in The Sunday Times (£)

878,300 people have dropped their claims for incapacity benefit rather than face the new medical tests introduced by Iain Duncan Smith - ITV

Duncan Smith Jan 2012"As well as the 878,300 who chose to drop their claims, another 837,000 who did take the a medical test were found to be fit to work immediately, while a further 367,300 were judged able to some level of work. Only 232,000 (one in eight of those tested) were classified by doctors to be too ill to do any sort of job." - The Sunday Telegraph

  • Iain Martin previews the benefit changes about to be implemented - The Sunday Telegraph
  • David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, says "bedroom tax" will not save money in long-run and will cause human misery - Observer
  • "For anyone who wonders why welfare reform is so difficult, here is the explanation. State handouts are taken for granted. They are viewed as an entitlement, equivalent to wages or property.  In the eyes of the Left (and the BBC),  to reduce them is not to give less, but to take away money that is the claimant’s by right. So it is no surprise that the Coalition seems to be suffering from cold feet. If Mr Duncan Smith’s plans run into trouble, he can rely on his Cabinet colleagues to let him take the blame." - Mail on Sunday leader

Overall, nearly everyone is WORSE off

TAX-TAKE"The massive cost of austerity is shown in a report by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies. It claims the £700 tax cut given to 25 million working people has been more than wiped out by other changes. Tax rises combined with cuts in benefits and credits since 2010 outweigh any boost in this year’s Budget. The average family will be £17 a week worse off — or £891 over the year — according to Labour analysis." - The Sun

The Tories condemn an inaccurate Labour advertising campaign which portrays the cut in the top rate of tax as a lottery-style windfall for millionaires - Mail on Sunday

Stay-at-home mums tell Cameron: ignore us at your peril - The Sunday Times (£)

Cameron said to back Celtic and Rangers joining English football leagues in bid to hurt SNP - Sunday Mirror

  • Andy Murray warns that independence might go "tits up" - Scotland on Sunday
  • A more independent Scotland will be a more socially-just Scotland - Blair Jenkins for Scotland on Sunday

"Andrew Mitchell has launched a stinging attack on Scotland Yard over its inquiry into the 'plebgate' row. In a letter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, he claims the force leaked contents of its own report." - BBC

One hundred Tory MPs want Commons vote on referendum pledge BEFORE election - Mail on Sunday

Former Archbishop's attack on 'anti-Christian' Cameron government is widely criticised - Independent on Sunday

> Lord Bates on ConHome yesterday: George Carey should worry a little bit more about global poverty and a little less about David Cameron


  • Four churches have joined forces to accuse the government of welfare payment cuts they say are unjust and target society's most vulnerable - BBC
  • The Sunday Times (£): "The bishops and the anti-poverty groups have become campaigners for an unreformed welfare state."

Big business and consumers form pressure group to head off coalition policies that will bring ‘soaring bills’ - The Sunday Times (£)

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 07.53.34"An ambitious policy would see energy as a strong basis for job creation: unlike financial services or pharmaceuticals, it is not an industry that could disappear. But our policy vacuum is sending profits offshore. We are importing wind turbine blades from Denmark, solar panels from China and nuclear expertise from France, because there is not a sufficiently firm commitment to any technology to give companies the confidence to invest in Britain." - Camilla Cavendish in The Sunday Times (£)

The idea of a single financial regulator... central bank independence... inflation targeting... free capital movement - Dan Atkinson for ThisIsMoney on post-war economic ideas that are going out of fashion

The decision to back the NHS chief is morally wrong, and has lost the coalition a rare opportunity to gain trust on health - Ian Birrell in The Independent on Sunday

"Jeremy Hunt has [insisted] that the best way to cure the NHS is for nurses to focus on “hands-on caring”. You can tell the Health Secretary has never wiped a patient’s backside in his life, can’t you? Otherwise he would know that “caring” already forms a major part of nurses’ training, both at degree level and in practice on the wards." - Camilla Tominey in the Sunday Express

France's unpopular Socialist government is warning to Ed Miliband that you might win office without proposing an honest economic plan but trouble will follow - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

And finally... Labour's Lisa Nandy ran a sex casebook diary when she was a student - Mail on Sunday


> 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.

30 Mar 2013 09:04:06

Newslinks for Holy Saturday 2013

Midnight ToryDiary: David Cameron celebrates hitting 0.7% overseas aid target in his Easter message

1pm Lord Bates on Comment: George Carey should worry a little bit more about global poverty and a little less about David Cameron

ToryDiary: Cameron may not be a great leader but he CAN still win the next election and he shouldn't be ousted

MPsETC: Don't cut taxes. Don't cut welfare. Don't cut aid. Tory MPs in marginal seats tell Matthew Parris what they want and don't want.

Philip Booth on Comment: Some Christian objections to the NHS

LISTEN: John Hayes talks to Radio 4 about his new role advising the PM

UKIP to offer personal allowance of £13,000 and transferable tax allowance for married couples

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 07.41.22"The UK Independence party is to broaden its electoral message beyond its usual campaigns against Europe and immigration with a new tax strategy aimed squarely at swing voters in middle Britain. Godfrey Bloom, the party’s economics spokesman, wants to create a flat rate of income tax at 25 per cent with a personal allowance of £13,000, a policy which he accepts will bring particular benefits to middle earners. Meanwhile, in another attempt to chisel support away from the Conservatives, Mr Bloom also wants to allow non-working parents to transfer their tax allowance to a working spouse." - FT (£)

Ministers are looking to raise up to £3bn before the end of the year through the sale of the government’s 33% stake in Urenco, the uranium enrichment company, in one of the biggest privatisations in years - FT (£)

George Carey claims David Cameron has done more than any other recent prime minister to feed Christian anxieties - Daily Mail

"The Government risks entrenching a very damaging division in British society by driving law-abiding Christians into the ranks of the malcontents and alienated – of whom there are already far too many." - George Carey for the Daily Mail

Two-thirds of Christians now feel part of a persecuted minority - Sky News

Iain Duncan Smith has admitted that he is no longer seeking to cut Britain’s benefits bill and is simply “managing” the increase in handouts

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 07.38.14"The Work and Pensions Secretary said that, unlike other European nations, the “reality is that this country is not cutting welfare”. He added that “all those on benefits will still see cash increases in every year of this Parliament”. He was speaking ahead of the introduction of Universal Credit, which will begin to be rolled out next week and which will initially involve spending more on out-of-work benefits." - Telegraph

Thousands taking jobs 'because of Iain Duncan Smith's benefits cap'; Welfare Secretary claiming that his policies are already working in encouraging people back to work - Daily Mail

The Daily Mail comes to Iain Duncan Smith's defence: "Three pilot schemes for the universal credit have been delayed until the summer, to make sure the fiendishly complicated IT system required to administer it does not collapse. But this hardly justifies yesterday’s hysterical claims by Labour – reported with relish by the BBC – that the entire reform is in ‘crisis’. The truth is Labour will do or say anything to avoid confronting the need to reform Britain’s morally broken, unaffordable welfare system."

  • Peter Lilley says IDS wise to proceed carefully with the pilots - Times (£)
  • Frank Field has condemned the "bedroom tax" as a form of social engineering that would have made Joseph Stalin proud - Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Labour gambles on Universal Credit failing

Teachers threaten Gove with strikes over pay and pensions - Daily Mail

A YouGov poll for the NUT finds that 8% of thought the coalition had had a positive impact on the education system, while 44% said the impact had been negative - Daily Mail | Guardian

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: The NUT Conference shows how badly the Gove reforms are needed

Michael Gove is right that children should learn things by heart - Charles Moore in The Telegraph

Jeremy Hunt has defied the central recommendation of the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, that the rights of patients be formally enshrined at the heart of the NHS - Telegraph

Screen Shot 2013-03-30 at 07.37.56Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS' top doctor, says hospitals that don't deliver high quality care will be fined - Guardian
  • "A top NHS boss was facing calls to quit last night over a shock decision to suspend kids’ heart ops at a hospital. Experts questioned the move by Sir Bruce Keogh, saying it was based on “dodgy” death rate statistics." - The Sun
  • The Stafford hospital scandal is far from unprecedented. Dickens and Gladstone would have recognised this human weakness - Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

David Willetts complains that Oxbridge and other leading universities aren't doing enough to expand their undergraduate numbers

Willetts David BBCb"[The Universities Minister] said that it was disappointing that the University of Oxford, in particular, was held back from expanding by a limit on student housing in the city. But his comments reflect a wider exasperation that few leading universities have so far used the Government’s higher education reforms to grow." - Times (£)

Environment minister Richard Benyon admits slower progress in defending marine life because of cost pressures - BBC

Hayes John October 2012John Hayes says his appointment as parliamentary adviser to David Cameron move shows the Prime Minister "cares" about the views of his backbenchers - Huffington Post

John Hayes insists Mr Cameron was an “exceptional leader” and “more than capable of leading across the party” - Scotsman

> Listen to John Hayes' six minute interview.

David Cameron is beginning to realise at last that he needs the Tory Party rather more than it needs him - Macer Hall in The Express

"The biggest divide in our party is not Left versus Right; it’s safe versus marginal" - Matthew Parris in The Times (£) talks to Tory MPs in marginal seats about the direction of the Conservative Party.

  • With hung parliaments likely to become the norm, the kind of strop that Tory MPs are now throwing will be utterly counterproductive - Mark Thompson for the New Statesman

Andrew Mitchell has been sounded out by David Cameron on whether he would like to become Britain’s next EU commissioner - FT (£)

Andrew Mitchell should focus on police, not the press - Andrew Gimson for The Guardian

Johnson Boris 2012 ConHomeThe Guardian would like Boris Johnson to do a David Miliband and leave UK politics for a charity job - Guardian leader

  • Eddie Mair talks to student journalists about his interview with Boris Johnson - Guardian

We will lose a sense of memory and history if MPs rise and fall as fast as David Miliband - Chris Mullin in The Times (£)

Ed Miliband brings forward key announcements on economy

Miliband Ed At Rally"Some Shadow Cabinet members want to spell out specific cuts  to show Labour is serious about tackling the deficit. They have been blocked by Mr Balls. But with many opinion polls showing Labour trailing the Conservatives on economic competence, the Labour leadership is discussing issues such as whether to accept the Coalition’s spending ceiling." - Independent

The Labour leader tells Andrew Grice why his party has ditched 'command and control' politics for old-style doorstep campaigning - Independent

Sir Andrew Motion of Campaign for Rural England wants heavy taxation of second homes to force "townies" out of countryside - Times (£)

Louis Susman, departing American ambassador to London, warns US would frown on further budget squeeze by its greatest ally - Telegraph

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, accuses Britain of shameful rhetoric on migrants - Guardian

One in seven families on homeless benefits are foreign migrants - Express

Victims' Code criticised by ombudsman as Justice Minister prepares to overhaul it - BBC

And finally... Basil Fawlty is back


"History shows it is, always, only a matter of time before Germany ends up dominating Europe. After years of refusing to assert itself, Germany’s time has come again. The Fourth Reich is here without a shot being fired: and the rest of Europe, and the world, had better get used to it." - Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail

> From the ConHome archive: Can we talk about Germany without resorting to WWII imagery?


> 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.

29 Mar 2013 08:46:35

Newslinks for Good Friday 2013

6pm LeftWatch: The NUT Conference shows how badly the Gove reforms are needed

4.30pm ToryDiary: The next manifesto should include "new ideas" from the past

3.30pm ToryDiary: The next manifesto. The '22s policy committees start work. But where do they fit in?

2.15pm Andrew Lilico: An Easter Reflection - the Lordship of Creating over Testing

12.45pm Nick Pickles with this week's Culture column: Let’s move away from New Labour’s X-Factor politics

11.30am Colin Bloom on Comment: Good Friday - the One Nation Party Agreement

10.45am LeftWatch: Backlash for Nick Clegg over immigration speech

ToryDiary: Labour gamble on Universal Credit failing

Tony Lodge on Comment says Why new rail franchises must not become new railopolies

Thinkers Corner: Roger Scruton writes on Conservatism and the Environment

Local government: UKIP make county council elections hard to predict

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: There should be more than one National Curriculum

MitchellMitchell to sue The Sun over Plebgate....

"Ex-cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell has said he is suing the Sun over claims he swore and called police officers plebs. Mr Mitchell has repeatedly denied the claims, first reported in the Sun, but he later resigned as chief whip. His lawyer confirmed a libel writ had been issued, while a source said he wanted to address "the campaign of vilification by the Sun against him". A spokesman for the Sun newspaper said: "We stand by our story and will defend this claim vigorously." - BBC

  • "Mr Mitchell confirmed tonight that he had issued a writ against the News International title, which first reported news of the scandal in September. He said he had been the subject of "a campaign of vilification". Ten police officers from four different forces are now under investigation over the incident, which led to his resignation." - Daily Telegraph

Timespleb....while CPS given "no evidence" that the police officers lied

"A police file passed to prosecutors on Thursday on the so-called "plebgate" affair contains no evidence that officers lied about an altercation with the former chief whip Andrew Mitchell in Downing Street, the Guardian understands. The Crown Prosecution Service will examine the file to decide if any officers should be charged. However, on Thursday night, the CPS indicated it was unhappy with the file it had received from the Metropolitan police and was awaiting more evidence." - The Guardian

HayesJohn Hayes moved to No 10

"David Cameron has conducted a surprise mini-shuffle ahead of the Easter break, bringing a controversial rightwing energy minister into Downing Street. John Hayes will be replaced at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) by the business minister Michael Fallon, who will straddle the business department while taking on some of his predecessor's responsibilities." - The Guardian

  • "David Cameron’s new energy minister has attacked an “absurd” new green tax brought in by the Coalition for wasting people’s money. In a meeting with business leaders, Michael Fallon laid into the Treasury’s Carbon Floor Price, which will start driving up the price of electricity for households and businesses from Monday. Official figures suggest it will add around £5 to energy bills this year and about £50 a year by 2020." - Daily Telegraph


BorisBoris "would wipe out Labour poll lead"

"Boris Johnson would wipe out Labour’s lead in the polls if he took over from David Cameron as Conservative leader, a new survey has revealed.The research suggests the London Mayor’s popularity increased after he was grilled by the BBC about an alleged extra-marital affair and other misdemeanours live on air this week. A YouGov poll for the Evening Standard showed the Conservatives would be neck-and-neck with Labour in the polls on 37 per cent of the vote if they were led by Mr Johnson." - Daily Telegraph

IdsIDS delays Universal Credit pilots to July

"Ministers had intended to allow people to claim the new Universal Credit in four areas of the north-west of England from next month. But it has now emerged that three of the pilot programmes will not start until July. Universal Credit is intended to be the biggest shake up of the welfare system for a generation. It will merge several earnings-related benefits and tax credits into one single payment, and is designed to be simpler, cheaper and a greater incentive to work." - BBC
  • "Universal credit is supposed to be available nationwide in October. It replaces several benefits with a single payment which will vary as a claimant’s earnings fluctuate, making sure that work always pays more than welfare. Liam Byrne, Labour’s work and pensions spokesman, said the scheme was “now on the edge of disaster”. Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith rejected the claim, saying that Labour was “desperate for universal credit to fail”. The DWP insisted that the programme was still on course." - Daily Telegraph

GovemGove stands firm on performance pay for teachers

"The row between Michael Gove and major classroom unions escalated today when the Education Secretary refused to bow to activists’ demands over pay and pensions.  In a move that makes school strike action almost inevitable, Mr Gove insisted that the Government’s stance on both fronts was “now fixed”...Mr Gove’s intervention promises to stoke tensions between the two sides on the eve of both unions’ annual conferences this weekend and paves the way for a series of strikes later this year." - Daily Telegraph

TelegraphimmigrantMPs call for restriction on European immigration

"In an article for The Daily Telegraph, the joint chairmen of the cross party group on balanced migration, Frank Field, a former Labour minister, and Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative minister, say that David Cameron must do more to tackle “the elephant in the room” by restricting European immigration. The MPs, two of the most influential politicians in the immigration debate, suggest that draconian action should now be considered “during periods of high unemployment” — such as now — to protect low-skilled British workers struggling to compete with foreigners for jobs." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Most migrants who come to the UK to work take low-skilled jobs, as we saw following the earlier wave of Eastern European migrants. With one million 18- to 24-year-olds out of work, allowing this to continue does not make sense, quite apart from the increasing pressure on our infrastructure." - Frank Field and Nicholas Soames Daily Telegraph

PicklesnewPickles gives council new powers to evict traveller camps

"Councils have been given new powers to remove traveller camps in time for the bank holiday weekend after Eric Pickles pledged to “stop caravans in their tracks”. Mr Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, will today revoke regulations that stop local authorities from issuing travellers with immediate temporary stop notices when they try to set up a new camp. Travellers and gipsies can currently use planning loopholes allowing them to avoid fines by designating caravans as their main residence." - Daily Telegraph 

Damian Green says no plans to quit European Convention on Human Rights

"Ministers yesterday admitted they have no plans to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. A humiliating court defeat for the Government over its attempts to kick out hate-preacher Abu Qatada has thrown the convention back into the spotlight. Home Secretary Theresa May and Tory vice-chairman Michael Fabricant both want to ditch it to make it easier to deport foreign terrorists and criminals. But Damian Green, justice minister and fellow Conservative, said no plans were being made to do so." - Daily Mail 

GraylingGrayling tells judges to stop being soft on theft

"Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said he wanted courts to stop treating theft “as a minor misdemeanour", with little recognition of the impact on business and jobs”. He said he wanted “our Courts to know exactly what the consequence of crime is, and to act accordingly”. Mr Grayling pledged to give business crime victims a new role in sentencing by forcing judges to take account of the impact of crime on jobs." - Daily Telegraph

Ed Miliband interviewed for Independent

"Ed Miliband has revealed that he never really believe his brother David would return to frontline politics once he had beaten him to the Labour leadership." - The Independent

BbcBBC strike would end for death of Mandela but not Thatcher

"BBC staff who went on strike yesterday said they were prepared to return to their desks if Nelson Mandela died, however the staff's generosity stopped there. After news that the 94-year-old was in hospital broke, union leaders declared that in “the sad event of his death, and for BBC news coverage of that story only” the staff would postpone the strike. However when the strikers were asked whether the ailing Lady Thatcher, scourge of the unions in the 1980s, would be treated in the same manner, there was a marked change of approach." - Daily Telegraph 

PollyPolly Toynbee says Monday will see "avalanche of cuts"

"An avalanche of benefit cuts will hit the same households over and over, with no official assessment of how far this £18bn reduction will send those who are already poor into beggary.... From Monday, most of the poorest get a new bill of an average £138 for council tax. Landlords expect mayhem when tenants are paid rent directly every month: pilots show many fall into debt. Now add in these: disability living allowance starts converting into personal independence payment with a target to remove 500,000 people in new Atos medical tests." - Polly Toynbee The Guardian

  • "There will always be losers, and care must be taken both to deal with such cases with compassion, and to prepare the ground so that people understand the necessity of the changes. Yet little effort was made: where, for example, were the visits by the Prime Minister to those squashed into too small a space, desperate for a larger home?" - Daily Telegraph leader on the spare room subsidy

FraserFraser Nelson attacks increased heating bills for the elderly

"Fuel prices have doubled over seven years, forcing millions to choose between heat and food – and government has found itself a major part of the problem. This is slowly beginning to dawn on Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. He has tried to point the finger at energy companies, but his own department let the truth slip out in the small print of a report released on Wednesday. The average annual fuel bill is expected to have risen by £76 by 2020, it says. But take out Davey’s hidden taxes (carbon price floor, emissions trading scheme, etc) and we’d be paying an average £123 less." - Fraser Nelson Daily Telegraph

Damian McBride threatens to spill the beans on Ed Miliband

"Damian McBride, the Labour spin doctor who resigned over a smear scandal, is to publish his memoirs – presenting Ed Miliband with a fresh headache. The book, which promises the truth about plots that tore the party apart during the Blair-Brown years, will coincide with the Labour conference in September." - Daily Mail 

Council Tax increases to hit poorest

"More than two million people face significant increases in their council tax bills from next Monday, says a new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Research commissioned by the charity shows that 2.4 million low-income families would pay, on average, £138 more in council tax in 2013/14 owing to reductions in council tax benefit." - The Times (£)

Let schools make a profit

"Schools are still going through the revolution begun by Kenneth Baker, accelerated by Andrew Adonis and picked up by Michael Gove. Education in Britain is hugely better than it was in “the golden age” that
animates so much conference rhetoric. Yet every Easter the teachers get hot and cross. But, rather than moan that we need more places, anyone who rules out the idea of profit in principle needs to give us their grand idea for finding the cash." - Philip Collins The Times(£)

Full time mothers "noble says Clegg - Daily Telegraph  

Lord Ahmed apologises for anti semitism - Daily Telegraph

David Cameron welcomes start of electric car production - Financial Times

And finally...Painful skiing accident for Tory MP Graham Stuart

"It's a rather painful case of adding insult to injury. Tory MP Graham Stuart broke his pelvis, punctured his right lung and fractured several ribs – after slipping on ice just feet from a restaurant on the last day of his skiing holiday. The 51-year-old was on a four-day trip with a group of friends in Chamonix, the French Alps, and had spent the morning off-piste. He described the accident as ‘painfully ironic and very unheroic’." - Daily Mail 


> 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.

28 Mar 2013 08:28:15

Newslinks for Maundy Thursday 2013

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 16.25.31
8.30pm WATCH: The Queen hands out Maundy money at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford

5pm ToryDiary: Give your view on the budget in ConservativeHome's monthly survey

3.15pm ToryDiary: Why Samantha Cameron went to Syria

1.30pm MPsETC: Mixed reaction from Conservative MPs to Cameron's micro-shuffle

11am Professor Guglielmo Verdirame on Comment asks: "Where has British liberalism gone? Labour’s liberal wing seems to have disappeared – crushed by two decades of New Labour conformism. Even left-wing intellectuals have largely gone quiet on the dangers of Leveson, perhaps reassured by the stance of The Guardian and The Independent." Leveson "ethics officers" - coming soon to a newspaper near you.

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at ToryDiary: Two of the Conservative Party's success stories get bigger roles: Fallon and Hayes

ToryDiary: "The average council tax bill has gone down in real terms by 9.7 per cent"

Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Prohibition, SNP-style. Failing schools, Scotland-style. And secret agents of British imperialism revealed

Patrick McLoughlin on Comment: The future for railways is bright. That's why it's right to put the East Coast Mainline back in private hands

Local Government: Why is Eric Pickles still giving the Local Government Association £25.5 million of our money?

The Deep End: The poor should save more and the rich should save less

May loses Abu Qatada appeal

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 07.50.58"The home secretary is now running out of legal options after three appeal court judges unanimously dismissed her challenge, ruling that “torture is universally abhorred as an evil” and that the UK cannot deport Abu Qatada if there is a risk that evidence gained through forced or violent confessions will be used against him in a trial. Successive British governments have battled for more than a decade to deport the cleric, who is wanted in Jordan on terror charges and has been in and out of prison since his first arrest in 2001." - Financial Times (£)

  • Anjem Choundary won't face charges - The Sun
  • Sweden's Reinfeldt unhappy with Cameron over immigration speech - Financial Times (£)
  • Ministers planning immigration crackdown on 'education tourists' - The Guardian

Dominic Raab: Abu Qatada is still here because our leaders rolled over

"The Home Office should have revived its deportation order and made a virtue of rejecting the Strasbourg ruling as a usurpation of British democratic authority. Our courts would have been unlikely to halt the deportation. Instead the Government rolled over. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, disclosed last December that “a decision was taken to adopt the test laid down ... by the Strasbourg court” because otherwise “it would be open to Abu Qatada to go back to Strasbourg”. That’s why his deportation was lost in the Court of Appeal yesterday." - The Times (£)

  • "A British court’s refusal to allow the deporting of Abu Qatada offends common sense" - Times Editorial (£)
  • "The Abu Qatada saga has infuriated the public and tarnished the image of the judiciary" - Daily Telegraph Editorial

Treasury seeks to scale spending back by 10% more after next election

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 07.53.20"The Treasury wrote to most of the Cabinet ahead of a spending review in June telling them they must prepare to find further savings, on top of those they have already made, as another £11.5 billion is cut from public spending. Protests from a so-called ‘national union of ministers’, who have complained they cannot countenance fresh cuts, appear to have fallen largely on deaf ears." - Daily Mail

"One in three councils ignore Pickles's plea to freeze bills"

"In total, 124 councils are increasing their bills – some by nearly 4 per cent. Many households will be forced to pay up to £50 more on their annual bills, despite the Prime Minister’s insistence that they should not go up. Councils must call a local referendum to get the approval of voters if they want to put bills up by more than 2 per cent, under rules set by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles." - Daily Mail

> Today:

Matthew Hancock says that the minimum wage should be strengthened

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 07.55.32
"Hancock, the skills minister and a former aide to George Osborne, said his party needed to be seen to be tackling the causes not just of excessively high pay, but also unjustified low pay. Speaking at a Resolution Foundation meeting in London, he said: "Not only are the centre right best placed to tackle low pay, but we need to shout it from the rooftops." He said it was an essential supply-side reform since it helped people currently on benefit into work by giving them an incentive to work." - The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - What is causing the stagnation of wages? Matthew Hancock MP sets out a Tory agenda for the low-paid.

Karl McCartney accuses IPSA of trying to ‘screw’ him

"MPs have been forced to borrow money from their parents because the Commons expenses watchdog is trying to “screw them into the ground”, a Tory backbencher claimed yesterday. Karl McCartney, 42, MP for Lincoln, said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) was “incompetent” and accused it of trying to bully him into silence. He said he was “not proud” to admit that he had been forced to ask his parents for a loan when the regulator took five months to pay £25,000 in expenses claims."  - The Times (£)

David Miliband: A nation mourns

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.01.26
"The former Foreign Secretary was showered with praise from friends, including Bill Clinton, and foes alike. “It’s a career change for me,” David insisted in a series of broadcast interviews.  “I’ve not even left yet…I haven’t started my new job so the idea I would start thinking now about the job after this one would be wrong.”…His “sadness” at leaving Britain extended to the Blairites. Some believe David could be Prime Minister today if he had joined one of several botched coups against Gordon Brown in 2009 and 2010 while he was Prime Minister." - The Independent


  • "As for the constituents he promised to serve for a full term – or his country, which he is saddling with the distraction and expense of a by-election – they don’t seem to have crossed his mind." - Daily Mail Editorial
  • David Miliband’s departure marks the end of the brief period in which acolytes of Tony Blair were in the ascendancy - Times Editorial (£)
  • "So David Miliband is bowing out of British politics. It’s a heavy blow but we’ll have to bear it as best we can." - Sun Editorial

> Yesterday: LeftWatch - David Miliband's flight from the Commons is a sign of the times

Peter Oborne (Never Knowingly Understated): David Miliband is "a greedy failure in a cosmic sulk"

Oborne Peter 2"During his short, undistinguished career, Mr Miliband has done grave damage to British politics. He is part of the new governing elite which is sucking the heart out of our representative democracy while enriching itself in the process. He may be mourned in the BBC and in north London, but the rest of us are entitled to form a more realistic view. David Miliband has belittled our politics and he will not be missed." - Daily Telegraph

Other comment:

  • "Forget the fancy theories about divisions and distractions. The simple truth is that David never got over Ed’s victory." - Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • David Miliband's values still matter - Martin Kettle, The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Mandelson says Ed Miliband would be "clinically insane" to hold EU referendum - Financial Times (£)
  • Labour has accepted more than half a million pounds from Price Waterhouse - The Times (£)

Frank Field says: ‘Brick up your doors, knock down the walls’ over the spare room subsidy/bedroom tax

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.05.55"He said: “I feel so strongly about what the Government are doing to my constituents and similarly placed constituents around the country that I call on both social housing and housing association landlords to defy the measures, not by not operating them, but by doing what landlords did after the Nine Years’ War, when a Government similarly stretched for money imposed a window tax. “In many instances – we see it in older properties in our constituencies – landlords bricked up windows." - The Independent

Commons committee warns on devolution

"The political and constitutional reform select committee said a constitutional convention was also needed to develop a comprehensive, UK-wide strategy on devolution after the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. Until now, devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was being carried out piecemeal and without any overarching vision about the future of the UK: that risked leaving the union fragmented and disorganised." - The Guardian

Full-time mothers penalised by Government, says Bishop of Exeter

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.08.54"The Rt Rev Michael Langrish, who sits in the House of Lords, said that his views represented those of a number of bishops who are concerned by the Government’s apparent lack of support for family life. Over the past few months, ministers have removed child benefit from wealthier families with one breadwinner and restricted financial help with child care to those mothers returning to work, yet repeatedly delayed a promise to bring in tax breaks for married couples." - Daily Telegraph

  • New survey of the nation's behaviour paints a positive picture of life in modern Britain - Daily Mail

Boris to the rescue of scooter driver hit by car - The Sun

Darius Guppy to the rescue of Boris hit by Eddie Mair - The Times (£)

Guppy's piece in this week's Spectator

Samantha Cameron speaks of her horror during visit to Syrian refugee camp

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.12.47
"Mrs Cameron said:  ‘As a mother, it is horrifying to hear the harrowing stories from the children I met today. No child should ever experience what they have.  ‘With every day that passes, more children and parents are being killed, more innocent childhoods are being smashed to pieces.’ Mrs Cameron, who has been an ambassador for Save the Children since 2011, visited a camp in the Bekaa Valley on Tuesday and spoke to women and children caught up in the violence." - Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.39.56Whips played Skyfall to entice peers to stay for crucial "secret courts" vote - Daily Mail
  • Liam Fox off to Bahrain summit - The Independent
  • GPs to get £30 DNA test for cancer within five years - The Times (£)
  • Watchdog talks tough on bank capital - Financial Times (£)
  • Doncaster Council loses right to care for children in wake of foster torture scandal - Daily Mail
  • North Korea accused of faking invasion images - The Sun
  • America's Defense of Marriage Act faces uncertain future as court questions law's validity - The Guardian
  • Argentina demands U.N "wear down" Britain over the Falklands - Daily Express
  • Two jailed over leaks to the Sun - The Guardian
  • Scottish teachers back strike by 9/1 margin - Scotsman
  • Leeds and Sheffield Councils may abandon LGA - Yorkshire Post
  • Rolling Stones to headline Glastonbury 2013 - Daily Telegraph
  • Carwyn Jones' constitutional convention call backed in key report - Wales Online
  • First woman to head the U.S secret service - The Times (£)
  • Queen invites Duchess of Cornwall to attend State Opening of Parliament for the first time - Daily Express
  • Latest broadside against Nick Boles - Daily Telegraph
  • Record number of freezing Britons to flee abroad over Easter to escape Arctic weather - Daily Express

And finally...Miliband's departure. BBC presenters mourn. Latest dramatic picture

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 08.35.49


> 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.

Conservative Intelligence