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27 May 2013 09:00:39

Newslinks for Monday 27th May 2013

5pm Donna Edmunds on Comment: How an obscure Swedish tobacco product could hold the key to reversing Cameron’s EU problems

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 12.06.3912.30pm ToryDiary: Ministers warn of radicalisation on campus. But what's their position on FOSIS?

ToryDiary: Plots and whispers

Alex Dismore on Comment: Yes, many Conservative members really ARE swivel-eyed loons - and Cameron should purge them

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

Local Government: Rules must change to cut the numbers in bed and breakfast

The Deep End: Conservatism means telling people what they don’t want to hear

May calls for new controls after Woolwich and security chiefs call for Communications Data Bill (a.k.a Snoopers Charter)...

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 08.41.11
"Security chiefs backed Mrs May, lining up to call for the revival of the Communications Data Bill, which was dropped from the Queen’s Speech at the start of this month after being vetoed by Nick Clegg. But the Liberal Democrats, civil liberties groups and Britain’s leading Muslim organisation warned against a “knee-jerk” reaction to the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby. Mrs May suggested that ministers could also impose new controls on satellite channels and groups that propagate extremist messages as she warned that thousands of Britons could be vulnerable to radicalisation." - The Times (£)

...As does Michael Howard...

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 08.52.52"Mr Clegg sparked fury last month by blocking a new law to let the police and MI5 monitor terrorists, paedos and serious criminals online. Home Secretary Theresa May said yesterday the powers the Deputy PM blocked were “essential”. Hours later, Lord Howard said: “It makes no sense to let the Liberal Democrats veto it. “I hope they can be persuaded to change their mind. “But if they can’t, the Conservative part of the Government should explore getting this legislation through with the co-operation of Labour.” - The Sun 

> Yesterday:

Home Secretary also calls for a University crackdown on extremist groups and hate preachers

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 08.54.12"Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday pledged to look at introducing new powers to tackle Al Qaeda sympathisers who try to recruit impressionable students at colleges. She has criticised universities for being ‘complacent’ in tackling the risk of radicalisation. One of Drummer Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, 28, converted to Islam in 2003 at the same time that he studied at the University of Greenwich.  He was radicalised by the banned group Al-Muhajiroun." - Daily Mail

  • Mosques and Imams Advisory Committee says not enough is being done about hate preachers on campus - The Guardian
  • Pakistani lesbians who are the first Muslim gay couple to wed in UK claim political asylum - Daily Mail
  • Afghan interpreters fear they are being abandoned by Britain and left at the mercy of the vengeful Taliban - Daily Mail

Boris agrees with May: there's a problem in our universities

Johnson Boris Close"People like Abu Qatada should be put on a plane, and those that preach hate and violence must be arrested…The universities need to be much, much tougher in their monitoring of Islamic societies. It is utterly wrong to have segregated meetings in a state-funded centre of learning. If visiting speakers start some Islamist schtick – and seek either to call for or justify violence – then the authorities need to summon the police." - Daily Telegraph

  • Ban terrorist videos - Daily Mail Editorial
  • Stop Choudary - Sun Editorial
  • The Koran "preaches vicious retribution against non-Muslims, heretics and homosexuals" - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Politicians are in denial about the menace facing us - Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Until our leaders admit the true nature of Islamic extremism, we will never defeat it - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • I hate censorship but the BBC's wrong to pander to our enemies - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Servicemen should publicly wear uniforms on Armed Forces Day 'in moment of defiance against our aggressors' - Jim Murphy MP, Daily Mail

Cameron rests in Ibiza

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 08.57.35"After being mocked for his choice of leisure wear during a break to Tuscany two years ago, which included a pair of creased work shoes with no socks, black trousers and a blue shirt, the PM did his best to blend in. He swapped his trademark dark suit for a casual navy shirt, dark cotton shorts and leather sandals as he chatted lovingly to his wife…The Prime Minister found a quiet table and ordered two bottles of chilled water and their favourite cappuccinos before a light lunch." - Daily Express

Senior Conservative MP gives Cameron twelve months

"MP for Bury St Edmunds, David Ruffley said today the Prime Minister has to win the argument on the EU in the coming year or UKIP will split the Tory vote at the European Elections in 12 months…'I don’t think UKIP are going to win seats but they could split the Conservative vote if they are very strong and let Labour through in those marginal seats. 'But I think David Cameron has got 12 months to show that his strategy works.' " - Daily Mail

Pickles resists plans to force millions of private landlords to carry out immigration checks

Pickles Eric Dec 11 2"Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary, is understood to be trying to ensure that ordinary people who rent out a property are not saddled with red tape. A source said: “It is just making sure implementation is done in a commonsense way. We want to do it in a way that does not inflict red tape on millions of people. “What we want to avoid is disproportionate regulations on the private rented sector. “If you are British we don’t want a bureaucratic check, the cost of which is passed onto the landlord and then the tenants. It is question of getting the balance right and targeting the regulations at high risk areas.” - Daily Telegraph

Hague's call for loosening Syrian arms embargo meets European resistance

"The foreign secretary, William Hague, is to join with the French to table a call for watering down the embargo at a meeting of other EU foreign ministers. But several countries – notably Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden – oppose it for fear that weapons might fall into the hands of Islamic extremist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra. Germany has been trying to fashion a compromise." - The Guardian

Ruth Davidson under attack over Holyrood policy as Conservative Scottish conference opens

Davidson ruth"The pro-Union parties in the independence debate are under pressure to set out their plans for further devolution if Scots vote to remain in the UK in next year’s referendum. Ms Davidson had secured the Tory leadership after declaring a “line in the sand” to more devolution, but performed a U-turn earlier this year with the announcement that a commission under Lord Strathclyde would examine the prospect, particularly of extending tax-raising powers." - Scotsman

Lords gears up for gay marriage battle

"Lord Dannatt, a former head of the Army, and Lord Lothian, a former Tory chairman, are both understood to be preparing to criticise the proposals. Other opponents include Lord Luce who said: “You can’t suddenly pounce on the 2,000 year-old institution of marriage after such little consultation and with such little thought. This is all being handled in a very slap happy, careless manner.” Even Lord Hodgson, a Tory peer expected to support the proposal, admitted: “It looks very close.” - Daily Express

  • Gay marriage opponents stage mass protest in Paris - The Guardian
  • Open Europe poll claims that Tory defectors will give UKIP victory in European election - The Times (£)
  • UKIP founder: it is now a "fruitcake" party, is too stupid to think up policies...and Farage struggles with grammar and spelling - The Sun
  • Stanley Kalms: Change tack or I'm off to UKIP - The Independent
  • Mainstream parties need to adopt a looser model of participation - Times Editorial (£)

Tim Montgomerie: Do we face a future of low growth?

MONTGOMERIE TIM CARTOON"Professor Gordon doubts that tomorrow’s innovations can improve our economic wellbeing as those made in the last 100 years. He challenges inventors to come close to matching the impact of the car, the jet, electric light, central heating, air conditioning and 20th-century medicine. I’m not as pessimistic. For a start, western economies will benefit from the spread of 20th-century technologies to the developing world. We should also be optimistic about the potential of technology to end congestion, enhance the brain, improve the performance of government and raise agricultural productivity. Professor Gordon points us, however, to the key questions.' - The Times (£)

Miliband's graduate tax would push up borrowing by £7 billion

"The policy would also present problems for Labour’s election strategy because it would allow opponents to accuse the party of planning higher public sector borrowing. However, the study concluded that a graduate tax could be made to work. The political risks will be set out in a report next month by a higher education commission set up by the Institute for Public Policy Research, a left-leaning think-tank. The tax would involve scrapping university tuition fees and student loans, and instead levying an extra 2p on income tax for 40 years for all new graduates" - The Times (£)

Will Abbott's 'campaign of no' make him Australia's Prime Minister?

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 09.05.22
"Support for the Coalition is much stronger today, but there are still enough soft voters currently "parked" with the opposition to change the election outcome if they decided their disillusionment with Gillard was insufficient justification to vote for Abbott. Abbott and his strategists know this, and are determined to avoid the Pox On Both Your Houses effect that delivered the balance of power to a motley collection of Greens and Independents at the 2010 federal election." - Paula Matthewson, The Guardian

News in Brief

  • Minister Matthew Hancock to take two months paternity leave - Daily Mail
  • Row over proposed Welsh Assembly members' childcare allowances - Wales Online
  • Health chiefs refuse to pay for lifesaving kidney treatment - The Times (£)
  • Legal battle over HS2 could last for years - Financial Times (£)
  • Pension boost for low paid workers - The Sun
  • Green groups attack government resistance to EU climate change goals - The Guardian
  • Parking fines set to soar in new war on motorist - Daily Express
  • Nick Ross says that rape "isn't always rape" - Daily Telegraph
  • Lawyers tell shops that selling Nuts and Zoo could be sexual harassment - The Independent


> 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.

26 May 2013 09:02:17

Newslinks for Sunday 26th May 2013

5pm Joe Armitage on Comment: Serious crime today, your music downloads tomorrow – why the Communications Data Bill remains a bad idea

May4pm WATCH: Security-related clips from this morning's Marr show:

1.30pm Henry Smith MP on Comment: We must stop our children getting hooked on cigarettes

ToryDiary: Three tests for a counter-extremism policy

Margot James MP on Comment: How to keep older people out of A & E – and also improve their care 

David Cameron's new task force to take on the hate clerics...


"David Cameron is planning new powers to muzzle Islamic hate preachers accused of provoking terrorist outrages such as the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. ... The Prime Minister wants to stop extremist clerics using schools, colleges, prisons and mosques to spread their ‘poison’ and is to head a new Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force (TERFOR) made up of senior Ministers, MI5, police and moderate religious leaders." - Mail on Sunday

"Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, uses an article in The Sunday Telegraph to warn public bodies, including the police and judges, that it is time for them to bring the full weight of the law to bear on extremists and not be hampered by political correctness." - The Sunday Telegraph

  • "...hopefully the Prime Minister’s task force can find ways of helping the Muslim community itself tackle extremism." - Mail on Sunday editorial
  • "The blunt truth is that no matter what new powers or methods the security services have, they will never be able to do more than hinder terrorists." - Sunday Times editorial (£)

> Today on ToryDiary: Three tests for a counter-extremism policy The Sun on Sunday attacks Mr Cameron for going on holiday during "the biggest terror crisis since 7/7"...

Sun"The country is in turmoil over the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. ... People are weeping and laying tributes at Woolwich barracks. ... There have been angry clashes with the EDL. ... And the hate preacher who inspired the meat cleaver-wielding killer is laughing at us. ... But instead of making sure that Anjem Choudary is put behind bars, the Prime Minister has decided that his biggest priority is hopping on a plane to Ibiza. ... You have to wonder if David Cameron can be bothered to be Prime Minister." - Sun on Sunday editorial

...the Government battles over security policy...

"In the wake of last week's murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, Tory MPs have launced a tirade against Nick Clegg for scuppering legislation he has branded a 'snoopers' charter' ... One ministerial aide warned that Clegg would have to 'bear the responsibility' if his 'petty party politics' left Britain vulnerable to attack." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "Mass surveillance wouldn't have saved the life of Drummer Rigby" - Henry Porter, The Observer

...various other politicians join the fray...

  • LC"I was shocked when my own party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, in response to honest but siren voices ignorant of the evidence, decided to veto the Bill out of the 2013 Queen’s Speech." - Lib Dem peer Lord Carlile, Mail on Sunday
  • "Furious MPs last night questioned whether security levels had suffered, culminating in the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. ... Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former homeland security spokesman, said: 'I issued several warnings about the danger of cutting intelligence spending back in 2010.'" - The Sun on Sunday
  • "The coalition's strategy to counter Islamist extremism is failing, according to an outspoken intervention by the former cabinet minister who ran the programme under the last government." - The Observer

...and the rest of the Sunday papers have their say on the Woolwich attack

  • MdA"The choice is not only how hard we fight to protect ourselves, but how far we are willing to go to pre-empt attack. Each society makes such a choice, but must keep it under constant review. It is to defend that unending debate against the psychosis of certainty that brave men like Drummer Rigby put their lives on the line every day." - Matthew d'Ancona, The Sunday Telegraph
  • "When a soldier was murdered on the streets of London, what use was it to anyone that the Prime Minister flew back from Paris?" - Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • "Inside Number 10, the view is that some reassurance can actually be drawn from the fact that the attackers were known to the authorities, and might even have been contacted by them." - James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • "In my view that man’s severely mentally ill and has found a convenient conduit for his insanity — in this case the Koran." - Russell Brand, The Sun on Sunday
  • "Perhaps our own authorities should pay Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, and the other women who confronted the terrorists in Woolwich, to start a mission of female enlightenment, in south London – and beyond. We men could all learn from them." - Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Owen Paterson has more badgers in his sights

Badger"Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, has drawn up plans for a big expansion of badger culling — including allowing farmers the freedom to shoot the animals — before the first two controversial trial culls have even begun. ... Paterson wants to create 40 more cull zones in the next four years as part of a drive to eradicate bovine TB, the deadly disease transmitted between cattle and badgers." - Sunday Times (£)

"Conservative ministers are all too aware that the NHS is one of their weakest spots," notes the Observer

"Health experts and political strategists alike are scratching their heads as to how Jeremy Hunt ended up engaging in a game of blame-shifting he had no chance of winning. ... Conservative ministers are all too aware that the NHS is one of their weakest spots and that a brewing health crisis could give Ed Miliband the next election." - Observer editorial

  • "A cap on the number of times patients can visit their GP in a year is being considered by the Conservative Party, it emerged yesterday." - Independent on Sunday

> Today, by Margot James MP on Comment: How to keep older people out of A & E – and also improve their care

Dominic Raab warns against deeper British involvement in Syria

DR"We would be better channelling our moral indignation into stronger support for selective UN peacekeeping operations, conflict resolution, delivering war criminals to the International Criminal Court and bespoke assistance for nascent democracies in war-torn Africa." - Dominic Raab, Sunday Times (£)

"There was some vociferous heckling and it galvanised me" – Margot James speaks about the gay marriage debate

"She believes people will come around to gay equality: 'A lot of people, especially older people in the Conservative constituencies, are concerned. When they know me and other openly gay MPs, they think a bit more.'" - The Observer

As it emerges that Baroness Warsi declined to lead the bill through the Lords

"Peers expect the Upper’s House debate over same sex weddings will go through the night or even into a second day, with a key vote that could scupper the policy regarded as 'too close to call'. ... The Sunday Telegraph has also established that the senior Tory Baroness Warsi, a practising Muslim, refused to lead the bill through the House of Lords when asked to do so by David Cameron, the Prime Minister." - Sunday Telegraph

  • Gay marriage dominates the agenda for political, rather than ethical, reasons" - Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

Tory Eurosceptics seek out allies in Warsaw and Prague

Eu Flag"A group of Tory MPs seen as 'outriders' for David Cameron's renegotiation of EU membership are to travel to eastern Europe in search of allies. ... The Fresh Start group, which has already visited Germany, will this week meet politicians in Warsaw and Prague who it hopes will back the Tory campaign to curb the power of Brussels." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "I'm not saying that the Cameron plan to reform Europe will succeed. But with Merkel and Hollande in favourable alignment and with Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank saying in London on Thursday, 'the UK needs a more British Europe', things are going his way more than might be expected." - John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

Ann Widdecombe: Cameron vetoed my peerage because I opposed fuxhunting

AW"In a new book, serialised in The Mail on Sunday, she says that as a former Minister she ‘had a strong probability’ of joining the House of Lords when she left the Commons in 2010. ... [But] In her blockbuster memoirs, Strictly Ann, Ms Widdecombe says she knew she wouldn’t get a peerage ‘because I had received private intelligence from an unimpeachable source that Cameron had set his face against it’." - Mail on Sunday

  • Michael Howard a "gloating bully", David Cameron "obsessed with his image" – the Mail on Sunday serialises Anne Widdecombe's book here

Andrew Rawnsley: David Cameron isn't even among friends in his own cabinet now

"This unprecedented resistance to the chancellor contrasts vividly with the ease with which he prevailed in his first spending review. ... Cabinet members are now much less intimidated by the prime minister and chancellor, both of whom are considerably weaker. 'They were frightened of Cameron and Osborne then,' explains one member of the cabinet. 'They aren't now.'" - Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

Tory donors could turn to UKIP

Farage"David Cameron is facing a revolt from party donors threatening to join UKIP and backbenchers who have warned he may have to break up the coalition to remain leader. ... Lord Kalms, the multi-millionaire former Conservative party treasurer, has declared he is 'willing to pack my bags' and join the UK Independence party unless the prime minister adopts a bolder stance towards Europe." - Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: UKIP ride high, but face a gender split

Nigel Farage goes hunting for Labour votes...

"Nigel Farage is mounting a drive to recruit UKIP supporters from ‘white, working-class’ Labour voters who feel abandoned by Ed Miliband’s party. ... The UKIP leader – whose surge in the opinion polls has been put down to defections by disenchanted Conservative supporters – will unveil his new strategy in a party political broadcast next Sunday." - Mail on Sunday

...and for MPs to deal with

"He can, however, envisage coming to some sort of arrangement with 'around 20' Eurosceptic MPs, under which the MP would stand on a joint ticket with UKIP in 2015. One example would be the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries, but not all would be Tories. Farage cites the Labour MPs Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart as 'friends' UKIP would probably not run against." - from the Sunday Times's interview with Nigel Farage (£)

Nick Clegg's wife attacks the Government for failing abused children

MC"Miriam Gonzalez, the wife of Nick Clegg, has taken the government to task for failing to do enough to help children who are victims of sexual exploitation. ... 'Why isn’t this a government priority?' asked Gonzalez, who was highly critical of the policy of relying on a patchwork of voluntary and council services to help exploited children." - Sunday Times (£)

A climate scientist writes... we need something other than more taxes

"Do I think we’re doomed to disastrous warming? Absolutely not. But do I think we are doomed if we persist in our current approach to climate policy? ... I’m afraid the answer is yes. ... A carbon tax will not stop fossil fuel carbon being burnt. While a modest tax would be good for turbine-builders and the Treasury, in the short-term it will not promote the technology we need to solve the problem." - Mail on Sunday

  • "Britain will slash its carbon emissions by up to 50% by 2030 in a deal that would transform the nation's energy and transport systems, under proposals announced today." - Sunday Times (£)
  • "The European Union is quietly taking steps to shred the ‘green agenda’ responsible for rocketing energy bills across the continent." - Mail on Sunday

Ian Birrell on the Ethiopian who is suing Britain over international aid

DFID"In a landmark case, he aims to issue proceedings against the Department for International Development (DFID), arguing its money supports a Stalin-style programme of brutal forced relocations driving large numbers of families from their traditional lands." - Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday

News in brief

  • "The woman who exposed the scandal of neglect and abuse at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, where hundreds of patients died unnecessarily, has been hounded out of her home town by death wishes and abuse." - Sunday Times (£)
  • Scandal hits one of Tony Blair's flagship academies - Sunday Times (£)
  • The Tory police commissioner who spent £17,000 of taxpayers' cash to decorate his office - 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.

25 May 2013 09:15:09

Newslinks for Saturday 25th May 2013

11.15pm ToryDiary: Sunday's polling - UKIP ride high, but face a gender split; plus the public's initial post-Woolwich views

1.30pm ToryDiary: "We all know most politicians would love to be as popular as Boris. Douglas Carswell has explained how they can learn to do it - without putting on an act or pretending to be anyone but themselves." - Boris and Carswell show Conservatives how to win

ToryDiary: Unsexy perhaps, but deadly serious - the Coalition must not fail on infrastructure

MigrationWatch's Sir Andrew Green on Comment: The Government has a chance of hitting its migration target. But must act on in-work benefits

HS2…Welfare Reform…32 major projects in trouble, says Whitehall watchdog

Growth ConHome'The publication of the report from the Major Projects Authority - on the eve of a Bank Holiday weekend when MPs have started a long holiday - sparked accusations of “burying bad news” as the audit paints a damning picture of the Coalition’s competency. The Major Projects Authority was founded in 2010 with a mandate from David Cameron to turn around the Civil Service’s record of delivering projects. Its report uses by a traffic light system to rate the risk of delivery of every one of the Coalition’s 191 spending projects, which are so large that they provide Treasury approval Of the 191 schemes, 32 are defined as either “red” or “amber/red”. which means that they are unachievable or in doubt.' - Daily Telegraph 

Eric Pickles: Snooper's Charter would not have saved Drummer Rigby...

“I know of nothing that would suggest that the provisions that were in that Bill would have made any difference in this case, or would have saved the life of the young member of the Armed Forces. And I think it’s probably too soon to assess the powers that we need. - The Times (£) 

  • Beware a security policy panic - FT (£) 
  • Time to investigate extremist activists, says Lord Carlile - The Times (£) 
  • Do not tear down our liberties - FT Leader (£) 
  • Two arrested over airliner threats - Daily Express 
  • Did MI5 try to recruit Woolwich suspect? - Daily Mail 
  • Simon Heffer: Charge Drummer Rigby's killers with treason - Daily Mail
  • Gang background of one suspect - The Times (£) 
  • David Lammy: we must stop alienated young men being seduced by extremism  - The Guardian 
  • Victim's life on the front line - The Times (£) 
  • Surge in Help for Heroes donations "to counter evil with good" - Daily Mail 
  • Jonathan Freedland: Just as the right ignored Breivik, the left should ignore the Woolwich killers' message - The Guardian
  • PM unhappy with Hammond's "no uniforms in public" decision - Daily Mail 

…as Baroness Warsi praises Muslims campaigning against extremism

Woolwich“My inbox is full of suggestions for prayers for the victims, Muslims who want to organize peace meetings, people seeking suggestions on how to support Help for Heroes. A campaign “Not in my Name” is starting… This is community activism of the right kind.” - Daily Telegraph 

  • Taxpayers unwittingly fund terrorism in the UK - The Sun 
  • Al Muhajiroun linked to one in five terrorist convictions - Daily Telegraph 
  • Home Office "Champions" to investigate campus extremism - The Times (£) 
  • Why is poisonous preacher Anjem Choudary touring BBC studios? Are we mad? - Andrew Malone, Daily Mail 
  • Time to show Choudary what we think of him - Sun Says 
  • Omar Bakri Mohammed praises killer - Daily Express 

Matthew Parris urges Cameron to attack backbench rebels to defeat "Tory dark forces"

'How can their advance be turned? The Admiral Byng strategy, I fear. A handful must be shot pour encourager les autres. This will be tricky for a PM whose instinct is to neutralise through olive branches and whose support is not so solid that he wants to risk a civil war. But risks are necessary. Pretexts must be found to single out one or two rebels for extraordinary punishment.' - The Times (£) 

BorisAtRallyBoris to get key election role

'BORIS Johnson will be a secret Tory weapon in the next general election campaign, The Sun can reveal. An embattled David Cameron is to give his old rival a key role in a bid to win back disillusioned Conservative voters. Mr Cameron believes the popular London Mayor - dubbed BoJo — is uniquely placed to rally the grassroots.' - The Sun 

Hinkley Point nuclear project is back on track - at a cost

'The project has been close to collapse in recent months because of a stand-off between the Treasury and the French state-backed group about the level of subsidies, funded by levies on consumer bills, that it would receive. In the past fortnight, the two sides have provisionally agreed a subsidy level of between £93 and £95 for each megawatt hour generated by the reactors — almost twice the wholesale market rate of electricity.' - The Times (£) 

  • Britain was six hours away from running out of gas - Daily Mail 

The Government is delivering on its immigration promise

'Underneath the noises-off the coalition is building a record of solid achievement. Michael Gove's school reforms; Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms; even Jeremy Hunt's attempt to get GPs to focus on their patients' needs. These are hugely important reforms being pushed through. Now we know that the Government is delivering on immigration.' - Stephen Pollard, Daily Express  

CarswellDouglas Carswell: Come to Clacton - test bed for the new politics!

'At a recent meet-up evening in Holland-on-Sea village hall, 120 local residents got together for an evening of fish and chips – and fun. Almost every person came because they heard about the event either through email, Twitter, Facebook or – my personal site. Most were not party members. But guess what? More than 30 joined up. Indeed, over the past two years, such events have helped increase my local association membership by 59 per cent. That’s a real start.' - FT (£)  

Now even mortgage lenders are worried about Help to Buy

'“We know it’s a three-year scheme, we just want to know, is there an exit strategy beyond that,” he said. “You don’t want there to be a peak of activity, followed by a desert." He also warned against setting expectations for the scheme so high that lenders could only meet them by lending recklessly. Both the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England’s governor took a swipe at Mr Osborne’s policy this week.' - FT (£) 

Sally Bercow faces £100,000 McAlpine libel bill

'Mrs Bercow said: ‘Today the High Court found that my tweet constituted a serious libel, both in its natural meaning and as an innuendo. To say I’m surprised and disappointed by this is an understatement. However, I will accept the ruling as the end of the matter.  I remain sorry for the distress I have caused Lord McAlpine and I repeat my apologies. I  have accepted an earlier offer his lawyers made to settle this matter.’' - Daily Mail 

  • She won't be the last to tweet herself into trouble - David Aaronovitch in The Times (£) 

Red EdAn invisibility cloak won't secure power for Miliband...

'A party whose poll rating improves when its leading advocates disappear from view has plenty to worry about no matter how far ahead it is said to be. During a general election campaign adopting a tactic of below-the-radar stealth really is not an option.' - Patrick O'Flynn in the Daily Express

  • Ed Balls: I care more about playing the piano than being in a Miliband cabinet - Daily Express 
  • Talk of an Alistair Darling comeback - FT (£) 

…but does Cameron face an impossible electoral challenge?

'Almost everything the Lib Dems believe in is anathema to the kind of voters whom the Tories are losing in droves to Ukip. From energy policy to the human rights regime, from EU membership to gay marriage, from immigration to foreign aid, Cameron is doomed to try to keep together two tribes who believe in opposite things. He can only keep the show on the road at the cost of further alienating an already deeply disenchanted Tory tribe. And the penalty for doing that will be an even bigger leeching of Conservative voters to the Farage Army.' - Patrick O'Flynn in the Daily Express 

News in Brief

  • City firms switching support to UKIP - Daily Telegraph
  • Farage Junior in court for drunken disorderly - Daily Express 
  • EU retreats on "damaging and reckless" pensions policy - Daily Express 
  • Kent County Councillor in charge of traveller sites apologises for gypsy rant - Daily Mail 
  • Amanda Platell: Stop wearing hard hats, George - Daily Mail 
  • Britain and Germany share more than Wembley today - The Times Leader (£) 
  • Rewards for failure in huge BBC IT scheme - Daily Mail 
  • Matt Hancock to take two months' paternity leave - The Independent 
  • Scandal-hit Lord Lambton's family at war over his millions - Daily Mail 
  • Fife council tells residents: You have to drag your bins half a mile…oh and now there's three of them - Daily Mail 

And finally…

BORIS! Shake, shake, shake the room… - Mayor asks Will Smith for rap training

'Revealing to Mr Smith that he had written his own rap song he said: ‘My first rap, I haven’t really set it to music yet. Perhaps with your help. It was about the Queen’s Jubilee.’ Mr Smith joked in reply: ‘That was big in the hip-hop community.’' - 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.

24 May 2013 08:46:30

Newslinks for Friday 24th May 2013


3pm Local Government: Vote purple, go red: UKIP put in a Labour council leader in Norfolk

2.15pm ToryDiary: Isolationists must bear some blame for Syria's bloody collapse - and the risk it poses to Britain

2pm Patrick Cusworth on Comment: "Refusing to bow to intimidation, Chen exposed systematic forced abortions and sterilisations carried out under the China’s infamous one-child policy. For this, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment." Chen Guangcheng – a hero for our times.

1.15pm Local Government: How can councils defeat the merchants of hate?

Noon Local Government: Complaint against Stephen Greenhalgh rejected

Two posts on the Woolwich murder lead ConservativeHome:

ToryDiary: Cameron's response to Woolwich was right

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 08.33.59Tameena Hussain on Comment: The Woolwich murder was not, repeat not, caused by Islam

Iain Dale's Weekly Friday Diary: What on earth is happening to the Bow Group?

Local Government: Sorting out the Troubled Families

The Deep End: Heresy of the week - The real reason why we didn’t win in 2010

WATCH: Obama heckled over drones

Woolwich 1) The police and security services had the murderers on their radar. Cameron pledges two separate investigations.

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 08.31.21
"David Cameron said there would be a full investigation by the Security and Intelligence Committee after it emerged that both of the attackers were known to the police and MI5, but neither was assessed as a major security risk. The Telegraph has learnt that six years ago Adebolajo was arrested after being involved in violent protests by extremists outside the Old Bailey." - Daily Telegraph

  • Woolwich attack: police arrest two more people – Financial Times
  • Praise for three women who stood strong in face of terror – The Times (£)
  • Woolwich residents struggle to absorb implications – Financial Times

Woolwich 2) Adebolajo was prevented from travelling to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists

“One of the pair – Michael Adebolajo – was so high profile he was photographed outside Paddington Green police station six years ago behind notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary. He was even intercepted by officials as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists last year. It also emerged that Adebolajo was a violent ex-prisoner who was a member of a banned terrorist group” – Daily Mail

  • Footie-mad class joker who turned into killer extremist – The Sun
  • Put foreign-born extremists on first plane back to wherever they’ve come from, demands Bob Stewart MP - Daily Mail

Woolwich 3) The murder victim was Lee Rigby

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"Drummer Rigby's family, friends and colleagues today spoke about their shock and sadness at the loss of a young man who “would help anyone if he could.” Born in Crumpsall in Manchester, Drummer Rigby had joined 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 2006 and was an enthusiastic and accomplished member of the Corps of Drums and, alongside his infantry duties, remained passionately interested in music with an equal passion for Manchester United." - The Independent

  • Lee Rigby: a family man who would do anything for anyone – The Times (£)

Woolwich 4) “Copycat” terror alert as MoD increases security at bases

"The terrorist murder of a soldier outside his barracks could be followed by copycat attacks, the  Prime Minister was warned yesterday. MI5 and Scotland Yard chiefs told a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee that other Islamist extremists would seek to replicate the killing...Security at bases and military installations around the country has been stepped up. ‘The big concern we have is that this could very easily be copied,’ a security source said. ‘This is the sort of thing that can go from flash to bang in a very short time’”– The Times (£)

Woolwich 5) Attacks on Muslims spike after murder

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 08.32.13"The Tell Mama co-ordinator Fiyaz Mughal, from Faith Matters, said the service usually recorded three or four incidents on an average day, but the spike after Wednesday's killing reflected simmering resentment against Muslims and was unlikely to fizzle out...A 43-year-old man was being questioned on Thursday on suspicion of attempted arson and possession of an offensive weapon at a mosque in Braintree, Essex." - The Guardian

  • Far-right group, English Defence League, vows: “It’s war” – Daily Express

Woolwich 6): Warsi urges media not to build up Choudary

"TV stations should not give airtime to preachers of hate who are ‘idiots and nutters’, a leading minister said last night. Baroness Warsi spoke out amid a growing furore at Westminster about the amount of coverage given to Anjem Choudary and other militant Islamists on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 News." - Daily Mail

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Simon Jenkins: This echo chamber of mass hysteria only aids terrorists

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 08.32.59“We will not buckle to terrorism said David Cameron after the Woolwich murder on Wednesday. He then buckled. Everyone buckled. The home secretary buckled, the defence secretary buckled, the communities secretary buckled, the mayor of London buckled, the chief of police buckled, the press buckled, the BBC summoned its senior editors and they buckled. Everyone buckled. The first question in any war – terrorism is allegedly a war – is to ask what the enemy most wants you to do. The Woolwich killers wanted publicity for their crime available nowadays at the click of a mobile phone. They got it in buckets”- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

  • Stop them now - Sun Editorial
  • A grotesque attack on our values – Daily Mail Editorial
  • UK must avoid over-reacting to a gruesome attack – Financial Times Editorial
  • Inside the twisted mind of a Jihadist – Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail
  • We need to talk about Islamism - Alan Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • Islam does not turn men to terror - Mehdi Hasan, Daily Telegraph
  • Muslims, we must take out this cancer in our midst - Ali Miraj, The Independent
  • Woolwich was a case study in the banality and the idiocy of evil - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Enemy within that hates our tolerance – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • It is the Muslims who have to fight extremists – Pauline Neville-Jones, The Times (£)

Obama details drone policy in speech outlining counter-terrorism policy

“Special courts would be asked to decide on targeted assassinations of terrorism suspects under a clutch of new legal checks proposed by Barack Obama to bring an end to the notion of a ‘boundless war on terror’.

The president, who currently has to personally sign off on targeted drone strikes outside the US, hopes the increased oversight will help bring his controversial programme of killings out of the legal shadows. He also proposed that a smaller number of drone attacks in the future would be carried out primarily by the US military rather than the CIA, having first passed a new test to ensure that alternative options have been exhausted” - Guardian

Immigration falls to lowest level in a decade 

May Theresa in black“Net immigration fell to 153,000 in the 12 months to September last year. That compares to a net influx of 242,000 in the previous 12 months. In total, 500,000 arrived in the UK compared with the previous figure of 581,000 while numbers leaving rose from 339,000 to 347,000 – a net fall of 89,000 people. Yesterday, campaigners for tighter border controls welcomed the drop. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the pressure group MigrationWatch UK, said: ‘The latest immigration figures are very good news.” – Daily Express

Question marks over loyalty of ministers to Cameron

“In particular, Mr Cameron’s allies detect a ‘pattern of behaviour’ from Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, after he strongly criticised the EU, gay marriage and proposed defence cuts. Some Tories speculate that the 57-year-old Mr Hammond, who was previously considered somewhat grey and ultraloyal, might even quit rather than implement further cuts to the armed forces, setting himself up as a leader of the Tory right." – Financial Times

Philip Collins: Tories should not be prisoners of tradition

FAMILY“Unless we are able stand apart from the institutions to which we belong and demand that we can leave (or in the case of gay marriage, enter), then we are not formed by an institution, we are trapped in it. Traditions are not always right and the reason that the rights of man is a necessary idea is exactly so that individuals can make their claims against vested power” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Fear of racial backlash allowed child sex abuse to continue

“An abject failure of local authority leadership that exposed girls to years of exploitation by an organised street-grooming network is disclosed in a review of the Rochdale child sex scandal published today.The independent report reveals that senior officers on Rochdale council knew of concerns that local children were being used and sold for sex but did not take adequate measures to protect them.' – The Times (£)

Let hospitals go bust, says watchdog 

“The NHS must learn from the airlines, telecoms and energy markets in using competition to improve services, the head of the Office of Fair Trading said yesterday. Hospitals should be allowed to go bust and ministers must stop bailing them out or risk discouraging innovative organisations from offering alternatives, Clive Maxwell said. Mr Maxwell used a speech in London to say that market forces could encourage NHS bodies to ‘raise their game’ and produce better services.” – The Times (£)

News in brief 
  • Benefit cap forces families out of London, charity says – The Times (£)
  • Benefits cheat named who got £350,000 for “disabled” kids - Sun
  • GP who filmed abuse on “spy watch” gets 12 years – The Times (£)
  • Online porn drives children to take risks with sex, report says – The Times (£)
  • Charles and Camilla’s helicopter makes emergency landing – Daily Mail
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson, reviewed by Suzanne Moore - Guardian


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