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31 May 2013 08:35:20

Newslinks for Friday 31st May 2013

6.15pm Local Government: Council byelection result from yesterday

5.30pm WATCH: William Hague: Geneva peace talks are "the only hope in the near future" for a Syrian solution

2.30pm ToryDiary: No, the news about Patrick Mercer isn't good for Cameron - since it raises the issue of the right of recall

1.45pm ToryDiary: Should welfare be cut before defence? Should the Communications Data Bill be enacted? Should Samantha Cameron help shape government strategy? Take our latest monthly survey...

11.45am MPsETC: Patrick Mercer resigns the Tory whip after Panorama sting

10.15am LeftWatch: There’s as much gelignite as gelatine in Michael Gove’s article about Ed Miliband


ToryDiary: Hague calls for national parliaments to veto EU Commission plans

Iain Dale's Friday Diary: Hold on a second, Vince Cable actually has a point

Robert Halfon MP on Comment: Three ways in which we're being ripped off by oil companies

Also on Comment: Ed West - Yes, the BBC needs more diversity – of opinion, that is

MPsETC: The first 40 candidates for 2015: an overview

Local Government: Will UKIP get their first MP in Boston and Skegness?

The Deep End's Heresy of the Week: The banks don’t make enough use of our personal information

The first concrete proposal for European reform: William Hague to call for a "red card" system for EU policy...

Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 08.39.33"As part of David Cameron’s bid to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with Brussels, Foreign Secretary William Hague will today reveal the first concrete demand for reform of the European Union ahead of an in-out referendum in 2017. ... In a hard-hitting speech, Mr Hague will call for national parliaments, such as the House of Commons, to be able to overrule legislation proposed by the European Commission if enough legislatures call for it to be thrown out." - Daily Mail

  • "Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, on Thursday warned that the UK's nascent recovery would be squandered if the coalition continued to suggest willingness to leave the EU." - Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: Hague calls for national parliaments to veto EU Commission plans

> Yesterday: the papers back IDS for taking on the European Commission over benefit tourism

  • Newspapers"Britain is right to fight this case through the European court but it should not stop there. Other member states have expressed concerns about safeguarding their welfare systems. Britain should make common cause with allies and rewrite the rules to reflect the diversity of provision that exists." - Financial Times editorial
  • "David Cameron must be clear that he has no intention of obeying any ruling  which is inimical to our national interest." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Mr Duncan Smithn is right to resist and he needs to win. If not, Mr Farage will be celebrating at the saloon bar with a pint and a large grin." - Times editorial (£)
  • "In Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith we are lucky to have a minister prepared to fight this to the death." - Sun editorial
  • "The Opposition says that it, too, believes the UK is entitled to operate a residency test – so we trust that Labour (and the Liberal Democrats, for that matter) can be relied upon to defend Britain’s interests robustly as this case unfolds." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday:

David Cameron sets out a new roadmap for tackling global poverty...

Poverty"A United Nations (UN) commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 is one of the key recommendations from an international panel co-chaired by David Cameron. ... The Prime Minister called for a 'new global partnership' to tackle some of the biggest problems facing the developing world as the panel's report was handed over to the UN." - Independent

Andy Coulson's advice for Mr Cameron: send for Sam Cam!

"Mr Coulson claims Samantha is ‘badly needed in the trenches’ to save Mr Cameron’s premiership. ... In a damning critique of Tory prospects, he said the Prime Minister’s wife should make more public appearances to boost his ‘slim’ chances of winning a majority in 2015. ... And he called on her to join ‘small select strategy meetings’ because she is one of the few people around Mr Cameron who gives him good advice." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: 

"David Cameron believes in marriage – so why doesn’t he support it?" asks Fraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson"David Cameron’s silence, I understand, can be explained by two words: George Osborne. The Chancellor is allergic to the whole agenda and believes there is a special rung of hell reserved for moralising politicians. As Chancellor, he would have to champion personally any marriage tax break – and the words would stick in his craw." - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

George Osborne is planning an extra £15 billion of infrastructure spending

 "The coalition will announce £15bn of extra spending for future major infrastructure projects next month, in a move designed to stimulate the economy and challenge Labour to outline its own plans to revive growth. ... The money will be transferred from current spending to capital budgets in line with an announcement by chancellor George Osborne in the March Budget." - Financial Times

  • EDF and government edge closer to nuclear plant contract deal - Financial Times

While a US general has raised concerns about Britain's defence cuts

Pin"General Ray Odierno revealed that he has repeatedly raised concerns with British defence chiefs that Britain’s shrinking forces will be unable to work alongside the Americans. ... Gen Odierno’s comments come as ministers fight over a fresh round of spending reductions that could force another round of defence cuts. ... Gen Odierno said that such cuts are already jeopardising US-UK joint operations, and leaving the British reliant on American forces." - Daily Telegraph

Another plan to revive the Big Society

"Ministers are seeking to breathe life into the 'Big Society' project by requiring companies bidding in the new market for probation services to quantify the risks they are passing to the “third sector” of charity and voluntary organisations. ... In an interview with the Financial Times, Nick Hurd, minister for civil society, said: 'The overall environment is going to be much more transparent.'" - Financial Times

After the sentencing of Mark Bridger, a Government adviser calls for tighter restrictions around online pornography...

Cursor"Search engines such as Google should do more to restrict access to online pornography, a government adviser on child internet safety has said. ... John Carr said increasing the number of sites automatically blocked by search engines would make it more difficult for paedophiles to get images of abuse." - BBC

  • "A straightforward ban may be unenforceable. But there are ways of introducing a de facto bar – for example, preventing UK credit cards being used on porn sites." - Guardian editorial
  • "How many more children must die before the web giant starts to take seriously its responsibility to parents and blocks access to this repugnant, murderous poison?" - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Governments worldwide must force internet firms to block the extreme filth fuelling the depraved desires of deranged men." - Sun editorial
  • "It is a myth that technical obstacles and free-speech laws rule out blocking access to such material or removing it from web servers altogether." - Times editorial (£)

...but internet companies stand wary of the Communications Data Bill

"The five biggest internet companies in the world, including Google and Facebook, have privately delivered a thinly veiled warning to the home secretary, Theresa May, that they will not voluntarily co-operate with the 'snooper's charter'. ... In a leaked letter to the home secretary that is also signed by Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo!, the web's 'big five' say that May's rewritten proposals to track everybody's email, internet and social media use remain 'expensive to implement and highly contentious'." - Guardian

  • Nick Clegg: we will strike a balance on "snoopers charter" after Woolwich attack - Daily Telegraph

Grant Shapps rebuked by statistics chief

Gs"Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party Chairman, has been rebuked for wrongly claiming that nearly one million people on disability benefits had dropped their claims rather than face medical checks. ... Andrew Dilnot, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, said official figures showed that just 19,700 incapacity benefit recipients withdrew their claims before facing tests to see if they were fit to work." - The Times (£)

Liz Truss is wrong, suggests Jill Kirby

"Ms Truss, in common with her predecessors in the previous Labour Government, argues that children benefit from good quality nursery care. She also maintains that a lack of affordable childcare stops mothers working ... Studies published recently by the Institute for Fiscal Studis suggest that both arguments are flawed." - Jill Kirby, The Times (£)

David Tredinnick warns that UKIP are outflanking the Tories... on homeopathy

"David Tredinnick, the MP for Bosworth who chairs the All Party Group on Integrated Healthcare, warned the Health Secretary that the Tories were being ‘out-positioned’ by the United Kingdom Independent Party. ... Mr Tredinnick sent Mr Hunt a note on Ukip’s health policy, which says doctors should be allowed to prescribe herbal medicines." - Daily Telegraph

  • "It's a misconception that Ukip draws from the right: its biggest support is from Labour's traditional base" - Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, Guardian

> Today on Local Government: Will UKIP get their first MP in Boston and Skegness?

Nick Clegg is considering suspending the Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock

Clegg"Nick Clegg is considering suspending a Liberal Democrat MP accused of ‘very serious’ allegations of sexual assault. ... The Deputy Prime Minister revealed a meeting on Monday will take place on the future of Mike Hancock, the MP for Portsmouth South." - Daily Mail

Vince Cable urges the Treasury to take its time over an RBS sell-off

"Vince Cable has urged the Treasury to put the brakes on its plans for a sell-off of the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, saying such a move is “not in any sense urgent” and should not be rushed. ... The Liberal Democrat business secretary said on Thursday that Treasury ministers and officials were acting hastily in seeking to sell the 82 per cent stake." - Financial Times

  • Food bank problem is "very serious", says Vince Cable - Independent

> Today's column by Iain Dale: Hold on a second, Vince Cable actually has a point

Liberalism's alive and kicking, says the Economist

Economist"Experimenters with new technologies, fashions and ideas, young people in Britain and elsewhere have long tweaked established social institutions. But their iconoclasm goes further than this. Young Britons are classical liberals: as well as prizing social freedom, they believe in low taxes, limited welfare and personal responsibility. In America they would be called libertarians." - The Economist 

  • "The Lib Dems should try being real liberals" - Mark Littlewood, The Times (£)

"Ed Miliband is a blancmange in a hurricane," writes Michael Gove

"With less than two years before the general election, the Opposition has so little of weight to say that it makes a hole in the air seem substantial. And this vacuum where an alternative government should be is the Westminster story of our time – it’s hard to think of any opposition since the middle of the 18th century that has had so little positive to put forward." - Michael Gove, Daily Telegraph

And Labour's biggest donor isn't impressed with Ed Miliband's thin policy offering, either

EDM"Labour’s largest donor has warned the party that it still lacks a 'credible' economic message about how to get Britain’s economy growing again. ... In a series of frank remarks John Mills, the head of the television home shopping retailer JML, said the party was 'policy-light' and had still to develop a 'compelling message' to take into the election." - Independent

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Is it possible that Ed Miliband is a worse Labour leader than Gordon Brown?

David Owen accuses Blair and Cameron of conspiring to block Chilcot evidence

"David Owen has accused Tony Blair and David Cameron of striking a secret deal to prevent the Chilcot Inquiry publishing key documents about the Iraq war. ... The former Foreign Secretary said extracts of letters between Mr Blair and President George W Bush have been held back to save the ex-Prime Minister’s reputation." - Daily Mail

MPs criticise the OFT's regulation of payday loan companies

"Timid and ineffective regulators have failed to tackle 'predatory' payday-loans companies which leave customers with 'out of control' debts, a committee of MPs has warned. ... It accuses unscrupulous firms at the 'shabby end' of the credit market of targeting vulnerable people to take out loans which rapidly mount because of high interest rates – and soon become impossible to repay." - Independent

News in brief

  • AfghanistanWar in Afghanistan set to cost every British household £2,000, claims new book - Daily Mail
  • Prince Harry urges Britons not to forget injured troops returning from Afghanistan - Daily Mail
  • Lord Carey suggests that gay marriage could open the door for polygamy - Daily Mail
  • The number of millionaire households in Britain has risen by a quarter in one year, to 509,000 - The Times (£)
  • The number of people being dealt with in the justice system has fallen to its lowest level for 43 years - The Times (£)
  • Peter Mandelson is set for a job with the biggest publicly listed conglomerate in Russia - The Times (£)
  • BNP forced to reroute protest against Woolwich killing - Financial Times
  • The number of people insulating their homes has plunged by 97 per cent in one year - Daily Telegraph


> 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 May 2013 08:41:21

Newslinks for Thursday 30th May 2013

6.30pm WATCH: "It's a land grab too far." Iain Duncan Smith fights the European Commission over benefits tourism

Andy Coulson4.30pm ToryDiary: Andy Coulson’s GQ article is full of good advice for the PM – but not when it comes to Samantha Cameron

3pm On ToryDiary, Mark Wallace says that the EU Commission is the gift that keeps on giving: "This new threat suggests they intend to carry on governing as normal, unaware of the impact on anti-Brussels feeling among an already heartily eurosceptic electorate. Eurosceptics should hope for more such presents in the next couple of years – the likelihood is that the EU will willingly deliver them."

12.45pm Nick de Bois MP on Comment: More people and bodies should have the power to pull the Community Trigger

11am To mark Tax Freedom Day, the Adam Smith Institute's Madsen Pirie admits: I work for the government...

PatriotismToryDiary: The Tories must learn once more how to express patriotism, or the future belongs to UKIP

Peter Hoskin writes this week's Culture Column: Hay has gone political; if only politics would go Hay

Mark Field MP on Comment: The Office for Budget Responsibility – it seemed such a good idea at the time... 

Also on Comment, Louise Burfitt-Dons writes: It’s time for the Tories to target a new type of female voter

On MPsETC, Martin Callanan MEP's latest monthly letter to ConservativeHome readers: My colleague Vicky Ford fights off a directive that would have damaged our oil industry

On LeftWatch, Tim Montgomerie asks: Is it possible that Ed Miliband is a worse Labour leader than Gordon Brown?

Local Government: The Left's hypocrisy on "surplus places"

The Deep End: Jon Cruddas, Edmund Burke and a most remarkable book review

WATCH: Boris - "I'm backing David Cameron all the way"

Boris backs Dave (sort of)

Boris Cameron

"Boris Johnson cheekily declared yesterday he is 'increasingly confident' David Cameron will win the next election. ... The London Mayor denied claims from ex-No10 Press chief Andy Coulson that he “desperately wants to be Prime Minister” and hopes to see the Tory leader fail." - The Sun

  • "Boris the hare should beware the tortoises" - Isabel Hardman, The Times (£)
  • "What are we to make of poll results which show that knowledge of Boris Johnson's love child makes almost no difference at all to voters' intentions?" - Independent editorial
  • "Cameron the new Major? Don’t buy that myth" - Steve Richards, The Independent
  • "David Cameron’s circle of trusty chums is shrinking" - James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

> Today's video to WATCH: Boris - "I'm backing David Cameron all the way"

Good news for George Osborne, as the OECD supports his deficit reduction plan

Upturn"The British economy will perform better than all its major European rivals this year as the sluggish recovery picks up pace, [the OECD] said yesterday. ... The Paris-based think tank said Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity plans were ‘appropriate’ and ‘necessary’ and added that the outlook in the UK was far brighter than on the Continent, where the situation is ‘dire’." - Daily Mail

OECD calls for NHS ringfence to be reconsidered - Daily Telegraph

  • "I'm used to the Left fibbing about 'savage' cuts. But the mystery is why Mr Osborne is playing the same game." - Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

...while he takes on the energy companies...

Osborne"Gas and electricity companies have attempted to make  ‘completely unacceptable’ claims for nearly £1billion in tax breaks they should not be entitled to, George Osborne said. ... The Chancellor said HM Revenue and Customs has prevented utility firms from claiming tax breaks on payments made by their customers rather than themselves." - Daily Mail

  • "Village sports clubs face crippling tax bills after a major crackdown by the taxman." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by Rory Meakin on ThinkTankCentral: Three steps to fix our broken corporate tax system

...and one of his recent hires comes under question

"A former banker hand-picked by chancellor George Osborne to help police the financial system donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party. ... One insider said the donations are likely to be scrutinised by the influential Treasury Select Committee of MPs, which will grill new committee members over the next few weeks." - Daily Mail

Philip Hammond gets caught up in a row over Afghan prisoners...

PH"Lawyers for the Afghans claimed the prisoners are being illegally detained at a ‘secret’ prison within Camp Bastion in Helmand Province and demanded they be brought before a court or released. ... But when Defence Secretary Philip Hammond indicated that the military was prepared to release them to the Afghan authorities, the same lawyers said they might launch fresh action in the UK courts to prevent that happening." - Daily Mail

  • "The whiff of suspicion over the Chilcot Inquiry grows stronger" - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Freeborn Philip Hammond's spending review rebellion may be more loyal than it looks

...agitates against further defence cuts...

"Philip Hammond has raised the stakes ahead of next month’s spending review, insisting that the Ministry of Defence cannot make any further substantial cuts without undermining British security" -Financial Times

  • "Business Secretary Vince Cable may cut up rough, and the Lib Dems will not accept swingeing welfare cuts, but fundamentally any Star Chamber will mark yet another round of Blue on Blue battles." - Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

...speaks out in favour of the Communications Data Bill...

DCB"British troops and citizens would be safer from terrorist 'mayhem' if MI5 and MI6 had more access to people’s internet activities, the Defence Secretary has claimed. ... [He] said it was vital to have the new laws – known as the 'snooper’s charter' – in order to monitor Islamic extremists." - The Independent

Michael Adebowale charged with the murder of Lee Rigby - Daily Telegraph

  • "After Woolwich, don't ban hate speech, counter it. Hate it, too" - Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • "Theresa May knows what it is necessary to do to fight Islamism – but her hands are tied" - Douglas Murray, The Spectator

> Yesterday, by Mohammed Amin on Comment: Calling terrorists jihadis helps them

...and is the subject of a profile by Andrew Gimson in the New Statesman

AG"It is easy to imagine Hammond as a chancellor devoted to sound money: much harder to imagine him as prime minister. But that depends on what kind of prime minister is wanted. If we are in a crisis, and need a calm head attached to a safe pair of hands, the cry might yet go up to send for Hammond." - Andrew Gimson, New Statesman

The holiday's over for some prisoners, thanks to Chris Grayling's latest plans

"All lags will be banned from swanning off abroad after being freed on licence. ... About 50,000 criminals a year who are sentenced to less than 12 months will be slapped with the curb on foreign hols. ... The move will bring the convicts — who only serve half their sentence in jail — into line with prisoners given longer terms." - The Sun

Concern that the Government's new planning measures will fuel problem gambling

"Betting shops will be allowed to open up in pubs under a change in planning laws which will see the high street ‘overrun’ with bookmakers and payday lenders, critics have warned. ... Planning rules that come into force today will allow shops to switch use to bookmakers without planning permission in what was dubbed a ‘free for all’ on Britain’s high streets." - Daily Mail

The Government's plans to tackle benefits tourism face a legal challenge... from Brussels

"The European Commission wants to relax the rules on welfare payments to EU nationals. ... Since 2004, Britain has required them to be formal residents of the UK in order to claim state handouts – but the Commission thinks this breaks EU rules. ... If European officials get their way, the UK would have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds a year to EU nationals who visit Britain." - Daily Mail

As a German politician attacks Tory MPs as the "English Tea Party"

Tea PArty"British Conservative MPs have been branded the “English Tea Party” in a rant by a senior German politician that revealed Berlin’s frustrations with the rest of Europe. ... Britain, France and 'barely governable' Italy came in for a verbal assault from Günther Oettinger, the German European Union Commissioner for Energy and a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU)." - The Times (£)

  • "The idea of tabling an amendment to the Tory bill demanding a referendum before the next election is gaining currency in Labour ranks." - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

> Yesterday:

Tim Yeo reckons that humans might not be responsible for global warming

"Tim Yeo, who chairs the Commons energy and climate change committee, accepted that the earth’s temperature is rising. ... But he said it was possible that the increase could be down to ‘natural phases’ in the earth’s climate, and that human action is merely a ‘possible cause’." - Daily Mail

"John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, lives rent free with his family in a prestigious Westminster residence granted as part of his office"Daily Telegraph

Nick Clegg cares more about his party than the country, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

CoC"The Prime Minister has been admirable in acting according to the responsibilities of his high office rather than as a party leader. ... Nick Clegg has not done this. He has followed a differentiation strategy. ... This differentiation strategy has been followed not for the good of the nation but in a so far forlorn effort to protect the Lib Dems' opinion poll ratings and a rather more successful one to keep the Deputy Prime Minister in his post." - Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph

  • Nick Clegg launches inquiry into MP facing sexual assault claims - Guardian

Defence officials warn that the Lib Dems' Trident plans could cost jobs

"The Lib Dems have long pushed for a cheaper alternative to Trident, and will back the reduced version suggested by the Cabinet Office analysis. But senior advisers at the Ministry of Defence have said this would put British jobs at risk at some of the country’s biggest defence contractors." - Financial Times

Oh dear, Ed Miliband is regarded as "less trustworthy, decisive or competent" than Gordon Brown

ED Brown"Ed Miliband us viewed by voters as less trustworthy, decisive or competent than Gordon Brown, according to a new poll ... The Labour leader scores at consistently poorer levels than his predecessor did after the party's 2010 general electon defeat. However, voters also regard Mr Miliband as a better Labour leader than Mr Brown, by 32 per cent to 17 per cent." - The Times (£)

  • "Britain could find itself with a prime minister it doesn’t want or respect. Miliband’s best hope is to get tough on the economy" - Times editorial (£)

> Today on On LeftWatch: Is it possible that Ed Miliband is a worse Labour leader than Gordon Brown?

News in brief

  • "Mary Portas's scheme to revitalise ailing high streets has failed to stop the rot – with 10 out of the 12 towns selected to share £1.2m of taxpayers' cash seeing an increase in empty shopping outlets." - Guardian
  • Overstretched A&E departments having to divert ambulances to other hospitals - Daily Mail
  • Anger at the boss of Network Rail's £100,000 bonus - Daily Mail
  • Two-thirds of pupils are worried about the cost of university - Daily Mail
  • Grandparents provide childcare worth £7.3 billion a year, according to study - The Sun
  • "There is more of the MMR scandal to come," warns former chief executive of the Medical Research Council - The Times (£)
  • Half-a-million Britons are using food banks, claims report - The Independent

And finally... Save the Houses of Parliament!


"An international appeal has been issued to companies who can save the Houses of Parliament from collapse. ... Specialist companies are now being sought to find a way to carry out extensive work to repair the building, without distributing the process of British politics. ... However, MPs and peers could be told to pack their bags and leave the site for up to two years, instead holding debates and votes in a temporary Parliament elsewhere." - 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.

29 May 2013 08:32:11

Newslinks for Wednesday 29th May 2013

John_Lilburne6pm ToryDiary: Freeborn Philip Hammond's spending review rebellion may be more loyal than it looks

3.45pm Richard Ottaway MP: To the colleagues who heckled me, I say: it is in our national interest to stay in the EU

1.15pm Rory Meakin on ThinkTankCentral: "Most people agree that the system we have now doesn't make sense in a world of multinational companies, intellectual property and the internet. How much UK tax should companies like Starbucks and Google pay with a fairer system? Are they getting away with paying too little?" Three steps to fix our broken corporate tax system

11.30am Mohammed Amin on Comment: Calling terrorists jihadis helps them

ToryDiary: Will James Wharton's EU referendum bill help Cameron, harm him - or make little difference at all?

ToryDiary: Where is the fury over the weekend spikes in NHS deaths?

PincherChristopher Pincher MP on Comment: "Concerns remain and the doom-merchants still point across the Atlantic, where shale has revolutionised the energy market, muttering darkly about environmental disaster.  Their claims must be countered and critiqued.  The myths they market must be exploded." Exposing the mythical horror stories about shale gas


In this week's Red, White and Blue column, Henry Hill looks at the implications of London devolution

The Deep End: Liberalism, post-liberalism and loneliness

OsborneOsborne's Star Chamber will see cutting Cabinet Ministers scrutinise their colleagues

'In an ominous sign for rebellious ministers, Mr Pickles, one of the most hawkish members of the Cabinet, has been given a prime seat alongside the Chancellor. At the right-hand side of Mr Alexander will be Ken Clarke, the former Chancellor and another fiscally conservative minister. Oliver Letwin, the Prime Minister’s policy guru, will also be a member of the group. Treasury officials said that the star chamber may not be needed if all ministers fall into line.' - The Times (£) 

  • Start with Whitehall waste - Sun Says 
  • We need cuts, not slices - Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Pickles targets council pension funds for savings  - The Times (£) 
  • Osborne rules out tax rises - Daily Express 
  • Magistrates attack Grayling's court closure plans - The Times (£) 
  • Brussels allows member states to break the deficit limit - FT (£) 
  • Bribery Act reviewed to cut red tape costs - FT (£) 
  • Government under fire over "distorted" statistics - FT (£) 

Coulson spills the beans: On Boris... 

'"David responded: “Well, if he wins [London], he’ll want my job next”.’ Mr Coulson went on: ‘If proof were needed that our PM is a man untroubled by self-doubt, it came in his next sentence - “so I think he’ll be a bloody brilliant candidate for us”. Stabbing David, or anyone else for that matter, in the back would be distinctly off brand - just not very Boris. He would much prefer to see David fail miserably in the election and ride in on his bike to save party and country.'’' - Daily Mail 

  • Mayor to sign £1bn deal for London's "third financial district" - FT (£) 

…and on Ed Balls

'He added that the Tories must “pray” Ed Balls remains shadow chancellor until the election: “Appointing him as George’s opposite number was the Miliband gift that will keep giving.” He compared the relationship between the two Eds with the “dysfunctional” pairing of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, claiming “each thinks he is smarter than the other”. He said: “The Conservatives should imagine in detail how it would work if they won . . . and share that vision with the public.”' - The Times (£) 

PoliceNick Herbert: Civil libertarians must stop opposing the Snoopers' Charter...

'The familiar argument is that the excessive infringement of civil liberties becomes a “recruiting sergeant” for terrorists. This may be true in the case of measures such as long periods of detention without trial. But using new technology to intercept terrorist plots doesn’t recruit terrorists: it jails them.' - Nick Herbert, The Times (£) 

  • Michael Howard and Blairites team up for more security powers - The Times (£) 
  • Inquiry to explore if MI5 spending cuts played a part in Woolwich oversights - Daily Telegraph

…but do the authorities abuse their existing powers?

'There can be no justification for someone being on police bail for three and a half years, as the Metropolitan Police admit has happened.  Nobody should live under the shadow of suspicion for so long, subject to restrictions on movement, curfews and limited financial transactions, especially as some of the people held will not be charged and some of those charged will be acquitted.' - The Times Leader (£) 

  • Snoopers' Charter wouldn't have saved Drummer Rigby, say MI5 officers - The Independent 
  • 57,000 in limbo on bail indefinitely - Daily Mail 
  • Little Hitlers on the march - AN Wilson, Daily Mail 
  • Law Society calls for reduction in bail powers - Daily Express 
  • Morrisons suspend employee for wearing poppy and Help For Heroes wristband - Daily Mail 

EU Exit

Charm offensive and a three line whip for the EU Referendum Bill

'Grant Shapps, the party chairman, wrote to the chairmen of Conservative associations to explain that an “historic vote” in the Commons would take place on Friday, July 5. He asked local chairmen to “understand the absence” of their MPs on a day that they would usually spend in their constituencies.' - The Times (£) 

  • Clear your diaries, Hague tells MPs - Daily Express 
  • Three-line whip to support the EU Referendum Bill - Daily Mail 
  • Referendum should happen before the next election - Daily Express Leader 
  • UKIP rise continues - The Sun 
  • Britain should stay in the EU, urges GOP's Jon Huntsman in the FT (£) 

Nick Boles: Seeing the housing crunch has made me change my mind on immigration

'He said: ‘I had the classic metropolitan view about immigration that it was broadly good for me because it made life more varied and interesting and there were lots of people bringing different skills into the economy. I wasn’t really aware of the effect on people who were competing for relatively low skilled jobs and competing for public services.' - Daily Mail 

  • Housing shortage costs councils £91m on bed and breakfasts - Daily Mail 

BBCBBC "groupthink" bias on Islamism and immigration

'The corporation suffers from left wing ‘groupthink’ that prevents its journalists from challenging institutional bias and results in pro-immigration ‘propaganda’, according to the research published yesterday. It was also accused of ‘downplaying’ violence by Islamists while being happy to criticise Christianity and report on the activities of other violent extremists.' - Daily Mail 

  • Hay Festival snubs left-winger's controversial book on immigration - Daily Mail

More bad polling news for the PM

'Most worryingly for Tory strategists, the notion that the party is at war with itself appears to be growing. Fifty-six per cent regard the Conservatives as more divided than during John Major’s turbulent leadership in the 1990s, with only 23 per cent disagreeing. Forty-nine per cent of Tory voters and 72 per cent of Ukip supporters see the party as more split than it was in the 1990s. The recent turmoil also seems to have tarnished the voters’ view of the Prime Minister’s leadership ability, with 61 per cent doubting he possesses the qualities required to win the election outright in 2015' - The Independent 

Cameron must show us what he is willing to fight for

'Dave cannot out-Nigel Mr Farage on the right while chained to Nick on the left. But the clue is in the title Prime Minister. Mr Cameron possesses more power than he has been prepared to wield. Long-stay German chancellors who had to contend with coalitions might remind him that no one was ever left in much doubt as to who the major partner was in their liaisons.' - Anne McElvoy, The Times (£) 

News in brief

  • Tough welfare reforms could cause a "revolution", says German Finance Minister - Daily Mail
  • NHS surgery patients 82% more likely to die at weekends - Daily Mail 
  • Prospectors find shale gas in Lincolnshire - The Times (£) 
  • Hague is right to open the door to arming Syrian rebels - The Times (£) 
  • Revolving door between accountancy firms and Government - FT (£) 
  • Google to bring internet to remote African regions…with blimps - Guardian 
  • Lib Dem Trident cut proposal comes under attack - The Times (£) 
  • Ash dieback disease treatment row - Daily Mail 
  • Throw the book at those who deface memorials - Stephen Pollard, Daily Express 
  • 295 MPs bring in £7m of outside earnings between them - Daily Mail 
  • Britain blocks EU plastic bag ban - Daily Telegraph 


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28 May 2013 08:31:19

Newslinks for Tuesday 28th May 2013

6pm LeftWatch: "If Scotland was to become independent, the words "newly independent" are all it would have in common with the post-Soviet republics...The First Minister is living up to his nickname in the Scottish press: Alex in Wonderland." The SNP claim an independent Scotland would be like a post-Soviet republic

12.30pm Martin Parsons on Comment: "Liberalism not only lacks the capacity to counter Islamism, but is seen by many Islamists as part of the back door by which they can take over and impose Islamic law and government on western society." Liberalism cannot defeat Islamism

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 10.57.2411am WATCH: Osborne - I've settled with seven departments over spending

10.45am Harriet Baldwin MP on Comment: Why we must help to end malnutrition

ToryDiary: Grayling "plans to privatise the courts" (or make money and find savings from them, at any rate)

Garvan Walshe's Foreign Affairs Column: The Dutch ban Hizbullah in its entirety. It’s time the UK did the same

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP on Comment: To give older people the care they deserve, we must restore the role of the family doctor

Local Government: Labour implode in Brent

The Deep End: Does the rise of artificial intelligence threaten mankind – or is the real problem a lack of the natural sort?

Hunt to outline plans for more GPs

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 08.17.33"The steps are designed to ensure more elderly people can be looked after in their homes and in their local surgeries. The initiative could also ease the pressure on accident and emergency departments. Mr Hunt wants to raise the proportion of newly qualified doctors who become GPs from 40 per cent to 50 per cent, equivalent to 400 a year or 2,000 over five years. His instruction is contained in a “mandate” being issued to Health Education England, which is in charge of medics’ training." - The Independent

  • Dementia care given priority in new NHS training guidelines - The Guardian

> Today: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP on Comment - To give older people the care they deserve, we must restore the role of the family doctor

Grayling "plans the privatisation of courts"

"The idea would establish the courts service as a commercial enterprise, paying its way and freed from Treasury control, with court buildings and thousands of staff put in the hands of private companies. It would save the Ministry of Justice £1 billion a year…To counter judges’ fears that privatisation would erode independence, the courts could be placed under a Royal Charter — as proposed for regulating the press. Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, instructed officials this year to explore plans for reform to ensure that the Courts and Tribunal Service provides value for money." - The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary - Grayling "plans to privatise the courts" (or make money and find savings from them, at any rate)

> Yesterday: Columnist Jesse Norman on the wisdom of Michael Sandel - There are some things that money just can't buy

IDS in private talks with May and Hammond to cut welfare to fund police and armed forces

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 05.10.03"Mr Duncan Smith is understood to have offered to restrict housing benefit for the under-25s, and to limit state payments to families with more than two children. Both proposed cuts were publicly floated by the Prime Minister last year, but were thought to be off the agenda during this Parliament. The discussions over further welfare cuts took place before last Wednesday’s suspected terror attack in Woolwich, which is expected to lead to renewed pressure on the Treasury to protect security spending." - Daily Telegraph

Shock news: Boles says that people are happier living in houses than looking at fields full of oil seed rape

"In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Mr Boles acknowledged that rural rights campaigners and Conservative supporters were ‘very worried’ when greenfield land was replaced by ‘the sheer ugliness and soullessness of housing estates’. But he insisted that current planning laws were sending Britain ‘back to the 19th century’ when only the wealthy could afford their own home. He said: ‘The sum of human happiness that is created by the houses that are being built is vastly greater than the economic, social and environmental value of a field that was growing wheat or rape.’ " - Daily Mail

Whittingdale questions extremist broadcast and web ban

Whittingdale“A broadcast ban doesn’t seem the right answer, it won’t prevent the material and it raises several questions about freedom of speech,” said Mr Whittingdale. “Access to hate preachers is just incredibly difficult to control, the days when you just ban the IRA from television are over." Mr Whittingdale said trying to stamp out extremist content on the internet “requires political will right across the industry. Even if internet service providers agree to cut off access to a website it doesn’t take a complete genius to find ways around via proxy servers.” - Financial Times

  • Grimsby mosque firebombed. "Islam" sprayed on war memorials. 200 attacks on Muslims. Help for Heroes rejects EDL money - Daily Mail
  • Prison officer attacked after Imam calls on prisoners to pray for Lee Rigby - The Times (£)
  • York mosque counters EDL protest with tea, biscuits and football - The Guardian
  • Google cashes in on hate videos - Daily Mail
  • Stella Rimington says: spy on your neighbours - Daily Telegraph
  • Sea of flowers for Lee Rigby - Daily Express

Janan Ganesh: Liberals provide the knee-jerks in today’s terror debate

Ganesh Janan"It does not take a hawk to worry that, over the past decade, the civil liberties lobby has become dogmatic and sensationalist. Liberals who show more fervour than rigour can be found in parliament, the judiciary and pressure groups such as Liberty, an outfit that proves you can get away with any claim, however silly, if you belong to the “third sector” of campaign organisations and charities…the real knee-jerks in the immemorial struggle between liberty and security now come from the liberal side." - Financial Times

  • New curbs on broadcasters and internet service providers are likely to prove ineffective against extremist propaganda - Times Editorial (£)
  • What we can learn from Woolwich - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Was Woolwich a crime or an act of terror? - Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Ministers warn of radicalisation on campus. But what's their position on FOSIS?

Hague wins battle over Syria arms embargo

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 08.21.56"THE EU dramatically scrapped its arms embargo on Syria last night after a frantic day of talks in Brussels. The decision came after William Hague warned EU foreign ministers that violent jihadists would tighten their grip unless weapons were sent to moderate rebel fighters. The Foreign Secretary stressed Britain was prepared to let existing sanctions against Bashar al-Assad’s government lapse at the end of this month unless a deal was reached." - The Sun

  • Blair to be in charge of £3billion plan to revitalise Palestine's economy - Daily Mail
  • We've got enough problems at home without charging into yet another foreign bloodbath - Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Davis wants refuge for all Afghan interpreters

"Mr Davis is among a group of politicians, former soldiers and campaigners who demand a change to proposals unveiled last week, after it emerged that they would only be applied to interpreters who were still in British military service after January 1, 2013. Critics said that the decision would exclude hundreds of former Afghan interpreters who remain under threat from the Taleban for the work they carried out." - The Times (£)

Trident review "will suggest reducing the number of submarines from four to three"

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 08.26.55
"One person close to the review says moving to two ships would save up to £5bn in immediate capital costs, and another £1bn a year through employing fewer crew and having to carry out less maintenance work. But more importantly, say Lib Dems, it would also provide a tangible sign that Britain remains committed to nuclear disarmament. It would however put the Lib Dems in line for a showdown with military chiefs, most of whom insist the UK must remain committed to full like-for-like replacement." - Financial Times

Obama's officials warn: No U.S - U.K trade deal if Britain leaves the E.U

"US officials have told their British counterparts that a vote to leave would exclude the UK from a transatlantic free trade deal which leaders hope to thrash out later this year. American diplomats believe it will be very difficult to get the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – which could generate hundreds of billions of pounds worth of trade – through the US Senate." - Daily Mail

  • Students unmoved by UKIP (but turn backs on coalition) - The Times (£)

Ross Clark: Osborne is putting politics before prudence through Help to Buy

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 08.28.49"No matter how the Chancellor attempts to play down the danger, the taxpayer will be taking risks that the banks are no longer prepared to take. While the scheme will help some on to the housing ladder it will be at the cost of pushing prices beyond the reach of many others. Mr Osborne’s adoption of house price inflation as a cure-all for the economy has horrible echoes of Mr Brown, who presided over the housing boom that caused the problem in the first place." - The Times (£)

  • You can't blame big firms for avoiding tax - Matthew Sinclair, Daily Telegraph

Dominic Lawson defends Cameron's holiday

"Cameron can doubtless keep in touch with events in London via  satellite technology, if he needs to, or he can come back early if he really feels it is beyond the combined wits of the Home Secretary, MI5, MI6 and the Metropolitan Police to handle the matter in his absence. In fact, if he does rush back, then we really should start to worry. It would mean he worries more about factitious front pages than any Prime Minister should." - The Independent

News in Brief

  • Vaz backs Hancock on paternity leave - The Times (£)
  • Bercow's nanny has taxpayer-funded flat - The Sun
  • Scottish Conservatives deny Denis Healey's 1970s oil claims - Scotsman
  • Boris faces ire on London-Kent rail plans - Financial Times (£)
  • Stamp duty is 'choking' housing market claim - Daily Mail
  • Whitehall behavioural unit says that ‘nudge’ could generate £4bn annual bequest to charities - The Independent
  • Phillips penalty puts Crystal Palace in Premier League - Daily Telegraph
  • Bank holiday ends with a washout - Daily Express


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