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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 


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