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Newslinks for Saturday 29th June 2013

9pm ToryDiary: UKIP's share of the vote soared in May. The Conservatives' fell. Labour's fell more. What does that tell us?

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 19.32.387.30pm WATCH: Charles Moore discusses his biography of Margaret Thatcher at the Chalke Valley History Festival

3.30pm Jamie Gardiner on Comment: "The unofficial mascot of the Scottish Conservative conference was a man in a rat costume outside the entrance. 'Go home English Tories,' he bellowed to general bemusement...what is shocking is that, in more temperate language and minus the costume, many Scots would sympathize with the rat." Why the Scottish Conservatives need to pick a fight with the national Party

12.15pm ToryDiary: James Wharton's Referendum Bill puts pressure on Miliband to rise above dithering tempered by opportunism

ToryDiary: David Cameron should never be free of the fear that his own MPs might sack him

David Rutley MP: Everyday entrepreneurs, everyday Conservatives: wooing the self-employed

EU 1) At home, with James Wharton's EU referendum bill due next week, will Miliband try to split the Conservatives by backing a pre-2015 vote on EU membership?

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 08.56.25“Sources say the shadow cabinet has been considering a range of options, including backing a ‘clear the air’ referendum on Britain's membership to be staged either before the 2015 general election or six months after it. The party is even looking at the option of tabling amendments to the upcoming private member's bill on an EU referendum in 2017, being promoted by the Conservative MP James Wharton. The Labour amendment would propose a pre-2015 date for the referendum, which would place some Tory MPs in a dilemma” - Guardian

EU 2) Abroad, Cameron plays the Europe card, portraying himself as the lone gunslinger who rides into Brussels and defeats the treacherous French…

“David Cameron unleashed a blistering attack on Europe yesterday, in an outburst that took aim at France, Spain and ‘scandalous’ levels of EU waste. In an astonishing show of frustration, the Prime Minister attempted to win credit with Eurosceptic voters by claiming to have seen off a French-led ‘ambush at 1am’ to chisel £1.5 billion from Britain’s EU rebate. He said: ‘In this town you have to be ready for an ambush at any minute and that means lock and load and have one up the spout when you’re ready for it’” – The Times (£)

  • Prime Minister under fire over Kazakhstan visit - Daily Mail

EU 3) The Prime Minister wants “everyone” to support next Friday’s Referendum Bill

CameronUK“The Prime Minister said enshrining in law that an ‘in-out’ vote must be held by the end of 2017 would contribute to restoring ‘democratic consent’ for the work of the EU. Asked whether he would be urging Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, to back the Conservative Party’s referendum Bill in the Commons next week, Mr Cameron said ‘everyone’ should support the measure…Both Labour and the Lib Dems oppose the legislation although Mr Clegg has conceded that a referendum is likely” – Daily Telegraph

  • European Court of Human Rights throws out prisoners’ votes challenge – The Times (£)

EU 4) The Sun lauds him for attacking an EU colouring book for kids

“The most disgusting aspect of the EU’s propaganda book for kids is not what it cost to produce — although whatever it was, it’s too much. It’s that it illustrates so perfectly the revolting sense of entitlement of all those riding first-class aboard the Brussels gravy train. Pampered MEPs and their bloated bureaucrats have led gilded lives for so long that they see nothing amiss with printing a book boasting to children about living it large at taxpayers’ expense…All credit to David Cameron for flagging up the stomach-churning booklet to the rest of Europe’s leaders” - The Sun Says

Cameron slaps down Nadhim Zahawi for for demanding illegal immigrant amnesty

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 09.04.22"The Prime Minister said letting border cheats stay would send a “terrible signal” around the world that Britain is a soft touch. His rebuke came after backbencher Nadhim Zahawi urged a one-off amnesty for more than half a million illegal immigrants. The MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, who has been tipped as a future minister, called for a “seismic” change in immigration policy to help attract more ethnic minority votes to the Conservatives." - Daily Express

Conservative backbenchers are themselves preparing to ambush the leadership and push through a married tax break

“The Tory leadership is battling to head off a backbench ambush over a new tax break for married couples…Tim Loughton, the author of the amendment, said that it presented Mr Cameron with a ‘golden opportunity’ to show his Government was capable of enacting true Conservative policies. ‘Here we have an opportunity to make good on a very good and clear Conservative pledge for which we have a mandate,’ he said” – The Times (£)

Meanwhile falling home ownership threatens the Tory vote…

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 09.05.28“The Office for National Statistics said the number of 25 to 34-year-olds who own their home has fallen from two million to 1.3 million in a decade… Nick Faith, of the think tank, Policy Exchange, said: ‘The stark drop in younger people owning a home presents a long-term challenge for all political parties but especially the Conservatives. Research shows that private renters and people living in social housing are less likely to vote Tory’” – Daily Telegraph

 …and the Chancellor’s “shares for rights” plans flops

“Only a handful of companies have inquired about George Osborne’s plan to allow workers to swap shares for employment rights since the scheme came into law in April, in a sign that the chancellor’s pet project has flopped. The business department told the Financial Times that it had received four inquires while HMRC had two requests for information for a scheme that the chancellor had expected thousands of businesses to join. ‘That is an outrageously, terribly low figure,’ an official said” – Financial Times

But there is comfort for George Osborne from the commentators: Matthew Parris praises him for maintaining sustained downward pressure on public spending…

Osborne image 1
“Mr Osborne…is taking us back to the level of departmental spending last seen at the end of the last century: a hard, patient, unremitting squeeze. This is the most sustained reduction in government spending since the 1920s. It has become fashionable to say of Mr Osborne, as it was of Gordon Brown, that he is a ‘master tactician’…But these figures tell the story not of a tactician but a strategist…In brutal summary, it’s beginning to look as if you can cut, cut, and cut again at departmental spending without this making anything like the expected impact on national life” – The Times (£)

 …and Janan Ganesh predicts that Britain in 2023 will be “Leviathan cowed”

 “After three years of government cuts, Britain is not even halfway through its age of austerity, which will endure regardless of who governs. The tight spending round announced this week by George Osborne, the chancellor, approximates what even the Labour Party says it would do far beyond the next election in 2015. And if forecasts for growth and revenue prove as erringly optimistic as they have been of late, deficit-reduction will, as Margaret Thatcher once aspired to, ‘go on and on’” – Financial Times

Charles Moore: There is a leadership vacuum in Britain - and our young leaders are eyeing the exits

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 09.07.30"So everyone is looking to Mr Carney. By all accounts, he is a very brilliant fellow. But it is discouraging that he refused the eight-year contract which Parliament had laid down, in favour of five years. This means he will be a lame duck after three. He is only 48. He has quite an incentive to work what looks like a miracle with the British economy, get out quickly while it looks good, and end up as prime minister of Canada. This country is in it for the long haul. I wish the same were true of its leaders." - Daily Telegraph

Patrick O'Flynn: Australia shows Britain the way when it comes to leadership contests

"In our country neither the Conservative nor Labour parties can lance the boil of leadership plots swiftly. Both have elongated contests involving exhaustive hustings and ending with a vote of the entire party membership rather than confining the choice to MPs. It is arguably more democratic but for my money the Gillard-Rudd death match contained all the essential characteristics of a good leadership contest: it was nasty, brutish and short." - Daily Express

Rescue plan on way for dying bee population

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 09.11.55“The Government has begun an ‘urgent’ review of the decline of Britain’s bees and has pledged to publish a pollinator strategy by the end of the year. Lord de Mauley, the Environment Minister, said that he expected to have a plan for reversing the loss of many species of bees and other pollinators by November” – The Times (£)

Kafka comes to Falkirk as Labour rift with Unite deepens…

“Hostilities within the Labour Party reached new heights yesterday as the party’s biggest union donor claimed that it had been subjected to a ‘Kafkaesque’ trial in a row over candidate selection. The party announced this week that it was taking control of the selection process in the safe seat of Falkirk after allegations of foul play by Unite. The union had been accused of recruiting a ‘rent-a-mob’ of supporters to sway the selection in favour of its preferred candidate after Eric Joyce, the current MP, said that he would be stepping down” – The Times (£)

...and Nigel Farage faces questions as UKIP officials attend far-right rally

Farage Nigel Purple“Nigel Farage is facing further questions about UKIP’s vetting tonight after it emerged that two of his party officials attended a demonstration organised by a far-right group. The chairman of UKIP’s west London branch Vanessa Crichton and chairman of the Hillingdon branch Cliff Dixon attended an anti-EU protest organised by the British Patriots Society, which has strong links to the English Defence League” - Independent

News in brief

  • Obama arrives in South Africa as nation prays for Mandela - Guardian
  • Justice Minister Helen Grant gained from legal aid - Daily Telegraph
  • Charlie Elphicke MP reveals water companies' tax bill - Daily Mail
  • Ecuador cools on Edward Snowden asylum - Guardian
  • Violent clashes leave two dead in Egypt - Financial Times
  • Brooks and Coulson lose court bid to block prosecution - Daily Mail
  • Ian Brady “killed four more people” – Daily Telegraph
  • Taliban talks needed a decade ago - The Independent
  • Mick Jagger: being a rock star is “intellectually undemanding”  – Daily Telegraph
  • Andrew Marr: “My wife was told I was a goner” – Daily Mail


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