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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


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