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Newslinks for Wednesday 15th May 2013

11.30pm ToryDiary: Cameron's been likened to Major. More votes like this one, and the comparison will be with Lord North.

7.30pm MPsETC: 114 Tory MPs vote for the Baron amendment

5pm ToryDiary: Political lessons from the fuel price war

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at Lottie Dexter on Comment: Stop bickering about Europe. Start talking about what matters - such as the fact that one in five young people are unemployed

2.30pm ToryDiary - Andrew Gimson's sketch: Nick Clegg enjoys standing in for David Cameron and denouncing Labour 

1.45pm As the Commons vote on a referendum bill approaches, three Conservative MPs in less safe seats have their say:

1.30pm ToryDiary: How today's referendum row could change the rules of the game in 2015

Letter_from_a_treasury_minister10.15am Greg Clark MP writes the latest Weekly Letter from a Treasury Minister: Some questions for Ed Miliband about his “temporary rise in borrowing”

ToryDiary: Do Conservative MPs really want to win the next election?

AGAlso on ToryDiary, Andrew Gimson advises David Cameron to replace Grant Shapps with a Chairman who can cheer the troops

Henry Hill's latest Red, White and Blue column: Scotland's serious choice, UKIP's Ulster prospects, and history's lessons on devolution

Karen Allen, the Conservative candidate in the recent the South Shields byelection, writes on Comment: I see signs of hope for the Conservatives in the north-east

Local Government: UKIP spurn county coalitions with Conservatives

The Deep End: Stimulus versus austerity: What if both sides are wrong?

WATCH: Lookalike dolls for David Cameron and Prince Harry

David Cameron reveals his EU Referendum question and says "I'm not panicking!"


"David Cameron was last night forced to deny he was panicking over Europe as he unveiled the question that will be posed in a referendum on Britain’s future membership of the EU. ... The Conservatives published draft legislation pledging a straightforward vote on the question: ‘Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?’ ... It said the referendum would take place by December 31, 2017 – by which point Mr Cameron says he will have attempted to negotiate a looser, trade-based relationship with Brussels if he remains in Downing Street." - Daily Mail

"David Cameron has ruled out any  further concessions to his hardline Eurosceptic MPs as they prepared to defy him by staging a Commons revolt today ... Philip Hollobone, Tory MP for Kettering, predicted that about 100 Tories would support the amendment and said Mr Cameron should overrule Nick Clegg by bringing in the Bill as a government measure – even if that ended the Coalition." - Independent

  • Iain Martin"...the events of the past 48 hours have marked a new low in Mr Cameron’s leadership." - Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • "This rebellion is Cameron's Maastricht. He should have seen it coming." - Melissa Kite, Guardian
  • "To the public, all this must seem a bewildering distraction from Britain’s enormous economic challenges." - Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
  • "Ed Miliband is not actually positioning Labour as the pro-European party. He's positioning it as the anti-referendum party." - Dan Hodges, The Times (£)
  • "Britain could reshape Europe if it would only try" - Charles Grant, Financial Times

> Yesterday:

(And takes on the UN's new, proposed development goals)

"David Cameron is fighting plans to place a commitment to reducing income inequality in the developing world into a major UN report that will set out a series of targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals." - Guardian

  • Actually, let's focus on inequality, say Labour - Guardian

Grant Shapps pushes Nick Clegg to back the draft EU Referendum Bill

Grant Shapps"The dispute about Europe intensified on Tuesday as the Conservative party co‑chairman Grant Shapps challenged Nick Clegg to show courage and back a draft in/out EU referendum bill, accusing the Liberal Democrats of 'complete disdain' for the views of the British people. ... Tory officials pointed to what they described as the hypocrisy of Clegg's abandoned promise in 2010 for a referendum on Europe." - Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: Replace Grant Shapps with a Chairman who can cheer the troops

Tory MPs in marginal seats warn against "banging on" about Europe

"Conservatives in marginal seats have warned Europe-obsessed colleagues that 'banging on' about Brussels would do little more than consign the party to opposition come 2015, as they urged MPs to fall into line with the leadership. ... David Mowat, chair of the 40 Group of Tories in the most marginal seats, said continued speculation over Britain’s future in Europe was 'damaging'." - Financial Times

  • Eu Flag"Given the importance of the issue to this country’s future, it is entirely appropriate to 'bang on about Europe'." - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "Once a leader who warned his party to stop 'banging on about Europe', David Cameron is now a laggard – running up the rear of his troops with a Eurosceptic drum, which he keeps bashing a little too late." - Guardian editorial
  • "The tactics have been a mess and the Conservative Party has paraded itself in an unflattering light." - Times editorial (£)
  • "A strain of collective madness has descended over the Conservative party in recent days, with backbenchers vying to trample on David Cameron’s European policy." - Financial Times editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: Do Conservative MPs really want to win the next election?

And, ahem, an EU budget increase leaves Britain facing a €1 billion bill

"Finance ministers have agreed to top up this year’s EU budget by €7.3bn – and possibly more – in a move to appease the European parliament that also risks alienating the UK and other countries pressing for tighter spending." - Financial Times

Treasury to consider making RBS shares available to the public – for no upfront cost

RBS.L_logo"Treasury ministers are to consider a 'big bang' plan to offer the public shares in Royal Bank of Scotland that would they would not have to pay any money upfront. ... Between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of the bank's share – potentially worth between £15 billion and £25 billion – could be offered to Britons, who would benefit then if the share price rises." - The Times (£)

Life will mean life for cop killers, says Theresa May

"Mrs May will pledge to change sentencing rules so that life really does mean life for thugs who murder police officers. ... She will raise the starting point from the current 30 years’ jail to a term where they are kept behind bars until they die." - The Sun

Liam Fox tells his colleagues not to condescend ethnic minority voters

"He told a meeting of Blue Collar Conservativism in the House of Commons: 'People ask "what are you going to do for Asian Conservatives". ... I don’t recognise Asian Conservatives, just Conservatives. You want what we want then come to our party? I know it is meant well, and it is trying to connect, but it is very easy to go from trying to connect to being condescending.'" - Daily Telegraph

Robert Halfon calls on oil companies to come clean over prices

RH"Tory MP Robert Halfon, a long-time campaigner against high petrol prices, said: ‘These latest allegations underline why action is required urgently in the UK. High oil prices are crushing families across Britain. Motorists are being taken for a very expensive ride.’ ... Oil companies ‘must come clean and show some responsibility for what is happening to the international oil price’, he added." - Daily Mail

Nicola Blackwood: The Oxford sex gang is a product of defeatism and ignorance

"Defeatist because the prevailing attitude was that girls who did not see themselves as victims could not be helped if they would not help themselves. ... Ignorant because too many times social workers, teachers and police did not believe the few victims who did ask for help." - Nicola Blackwood, The Times (£)

Alistair Darling urges Labour to spell out its economic plans

AD"Ed Miliband must spell out his economic plans this year if he wants voters to trust Labour with the nation’s finances, Alistair Darling said yesterday. ... Mr Darling said the party must come clean about what it would spend in 2015/16 once the Government’s spending review is completed on June 26." - Daily Mail

  • "Labour must decide its policy on welfare soon or be forced to dance to the Chancellor’s tune" - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Europe, public spending, union power grabs...Labour have plenty of splits of their own

Daniel Finkelstein: 2015 will be the red line election

DF"It will be one defined not by policy pledges but by how robust those pledges are. Beyond the normal manifestos there will have to be negotiation positions, 'red line' manifestoes as it were. Leaders will be pressed on how much they are willing to give." - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Police Federation chief warns about the Leveson effect

"The latest crime figures showed a 5 per cent fall in crime but, based on the anecdotes I’m getting, I am not sure that is the case,’ he said. ... ‘I do not think the true story is getting out because of the “fear factor” in the wake of Leveson about the effect going public would have on officers’ careers.’" - Daily Mail

  • "The public’s right to know has never been more vital – and never has it been under greater threat." - Daily Mail editorial

News in brief

  • "Ministers are in discussions with pressure groups about a groundbreaking change in marriage law which would give 'non-religious' wedding ceremonies legal status." - Independent
  • "A third of young Brits who failed to get good GCSE grades are jobless" - The Sun
  • The 95 Falklands veterans who have committed suicide - Daily Mail
  • Did Bloomberg spy on the Bank? - Daily Mail
  • Chris Huhne: free, eating a full English, and interviwed by the artist Grayson Perry - Daily Mail
  • MPs' anger over the Beeb's relocation spending - Daily Mail
  • UKIP councillor quits after posting offensive messages online - Daily Mail
  • Barclays has “repeatedly let down society”, says the Church of England - Financial Times

And finally... all dolled up


"Prince Harry was bussed into New York with David Cameron to plug UK firms in America yesterday — on a London double-decker. ... They rode through the city on the Routemaster as part of a campaign to showcase British commercial and cultural successes. ... The pair were also presented with 'mini-me' dolls of themselves." - The Sun

> Today's video to WATCH: Lookalike dolls for David Cameron and Prince Harry

>Yesterday on The Deep End: America versus China in the 21st century - bet on the eagle, not the dragon


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