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26 Jun 2013 08:32:00

Newslinks for Wednesday 26th June 2013

Screen shot 2013-06-26 at 20.55.17

WATCH: Osborne - We will set a new Welfare Cap

4.15pm On Comment, our expert panel give their response to the Spending Review:

4pm ToryDiary - Commons sketch by Andrew Gimson: Dr George Osborne, a physician who intends to cure us by making extra cuts

3pm ThinkTankCentral: Our rolling blog of think tank reaction to the Spending Review

2.45pm Local Government: Council Tax freeze for two more years

11am David Cooper on Comment: Public sector Compromise Agreements have their place - but it should be in the public eye

Growth ConHomeToryDiary: Was the Spending Review worth the effort, when it is the economy right now that demands our attention?

On Columnists, Greg Clark's weekly Letter from a Treasury Minister: We must tackle big business excess as well as big government excess

Plus, Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue Column: Falkirk Labour in 'special measures' after allegations of trade union infiltration

"None of the advances in technology would have seemed possible only a few years ago, and if HS2 had been started 30 years ago it may well have been a viable project. Now, in the timescale which is envisaged for the entire HS2 project, I think we are building a shiny new railway when what we should be doing is investing in new technology, improving local and existing transport systems." - Cheryl Gillan MP on Comment: Here are just some of the 80-plus ways in which HS2's £33 billion could better be spent

Tobias Ellwood MP and Mark Phillips on Comment: How to reform our emergency services to strengthen resilience and security

Local Government: Brandon Lewis is not a fan of the EU

The Deep End: The real lesson of Finland’s education miracle

Spending Review 1: Osborne to sweeten spending cuts with infrastructure spending

Osborne"George Osborne will on Wednesday announce £11.5bn of election year spending cuts, in a spending review statement that will also try to breathe life into the government’s much-criticised infrastructure programme. The chancellor hopes to balance the latest round of cuts – the sixth year of reductions since the coalition came to power in 2010 – by promising long-term capital commitments to road, rail, energy, housing and broadband projects." - FT (£) 

>Today: ToryDiary - Was the Spending Review worth the effort, when it is the economy right now that demands our attention?

Spending Review 2: Expat pensioners to lose Winter Fuel Allowance

"Up to 120,000 expat pensioners will lose their winter fuel allowance under plans to be announced by George Osborne today. The Chancellor will unveil a “temperature test” to stop Brits who have retired to hotspots like Spain and Portugal pocketing up to £300 a year. The move — part of the Government spending review — is another step in cutting the cost of pensioners’ benefits." - The Sun 

Spending Review 3: An end to automatic pay rises in the public sector

"George Osborne will announce the first steps towards performance-related pay across the public sector today as he scraps automatic salary rises linked with time served. Setting out plans to cut public spending by £11.5 billion in 2015-16, the Chancellor will impose a further squeeze on the wages of six million workers by abolishing incremental pay." - The Times (£) 

  • The public/private sector pay gap has been increasing, despite austerity - The Times Leader (£)  

MarriageSpending Review 4: Cameron and Osborne 'did not press for married couples tax break'

"Lib Dem sources said they were ‘surprised’ the Tories did not want to press the case for a married couples tax allowance as Mr Cameron claims it is one of his priorities.  In contrast, Lib Dems had called for a mansion tax – one of their pet policies – to be in the Queen’s Speech but this was blocked by the Tories. A senior source familiar with the discussions said: ‘Cameron and Osborne made no effort at all to get the marriage tax break in the Queen’s Speech. ‘We found that surprising since they keep going on about it." - Daily Mail 

  • Marriage pledge is not enough, says Loughton - The Times (£) 
  • There must be no further delay - Daily Mail Leader
  • Widowed parents to lose "lifeline" - Daily Mail
  • Clegg accuses Conservatives of having "tin ear" for suffering of the young - Daily Mail
  • Two year wait for the young to find work - The Times (£) 

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - Married Couples Tax Allowance due in 2015

Stafford NHS whistleblower driven out of home town by hate campaign

"She started the pressure group in her own cafe following the death of her mother at the hospital. But yesterday she handed over the keys to the business, having agreed a cut-price sale on eBay. ‘People have been coming into the cafe shouting that nothing happened at Stafford, that I am lying and there were no unnecessary deaths,’ she said last night. I have been run out of town by small minded people, leaving my home, my livelihood and my friends because a few misinformed local political activists have fuelled a hate campaign based on lies." - Daily Mail 

>Sunday: ToryDiary - How to heal the hospital scandals

Police allegedly bugged Duwayne Brooks meetings

Police"A senior police source said that authorisation was given for two meetings between Mr Brooks, his legal representatives and investigating officers to be recorded, according to the BBC. Mr Brooks was with Mr Lawrence on the night he was killed in a racist attack in Eltham, southeast London, in 1993. Scotland Yard said that the claims had been referred to its directorate of professional standards as a matter or urgency." - The Times (£) 

  • There must be more scrutiny of the police - The Sun Says
  • 9,000 political activists on "extremist" database - The Guardian
  • Border Agency fail to follow up thousands of cases - The Times (£) 
  • Migration mess will set us back in the global race - FT Leader (£) 

>Monday: ToryDiary - Institutions take another battering - which shows why the people should exercise more suspicion, and more power


Generation Y are turning Tory - why?

"I was on £6.55 in my last job," she said. "If you don't want to go to college, start at the bottom and work your way up." Such are the prevailing opinions of what pollsters call Generation Y, the millions of people born between 1980 and 2000, who have grown up in a country in which postwar collectivism is increasingly but a distant memory, and the free-market worldview handed on from Thatcher, to Major to Blair and Brown and now Cameron, is seemingly as ordinary and immovable as the weather." - The Guardian 

Westminster is full of muppets and comedians

"A damning new poll reveals the public cannot correctly name most of the Cabinet or party leaders – with hilarious results. Labour leader Ed Miliband suffers the indignity of being mixed up with Bert from Sesame Street while Chancellor George Osborne is confused with Hollywood actor Tom Hanks and Home Secretary Theresa May is mistaken for comedian Sarah Millican." - Daily Mail 

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment - Don't tell me...It's him off the telly

"Sign in, sod off" - Greedy MEPs caught on camera

EU Exit"The European Parliament was tonight embroiled in yet another scandal after MEPs were accused of claiming €300 expenses for only a few minutes work. Two politicians were filmed on a hidden camera arriving moments before the evening deadline after which MEPs cannot claim a daily allowance of €300 expense - a scam know as 'sign in and sod off'. And when Italian Raffaele Baldassarre and Czech Miloslav Ransdorf were confronted they reacted with anger to questions about their expenses as they leave the Brussels building a few minutes later." - Daily Mail 

>Yesterday: WATCH - Greedy MEPs caught on camera

Leveson summoned by Media Select Committee

"Last night committee chairman John Whittingdale said their patience had snapped. He said: “We would be very interested to hear his views.” Committee member Conor Burns added: “It’s disappointing it hasn’t been a more straightforward exercise to get him to appear before us.” It is thought to be the first time such a senior judge was summoned to give evidence to MPs. The committee can compel him to attend if he refuses again — leading to an unprecedented battle between Parliament and the judiciary." - The Sun

Tracey Crouch forces new bullying powers into law

"Ministers were yesterday forced to include school bosses among police and other officials able to call on the new sanctions. The tough Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance are court orders set to replace Labour’s discredited Asbos. Extending those powers to teachers represents the biggest clampdown yet on class tyrants." - The Sun

  • More money, fewer hours - British teachers get a generous deal - Daily Mail 
  • British pupils spend less time than their peers on the three Rs - Daily Mail 

News in brief

  • Kung Fu Panda is Clegg's favourite film - The Sun
  • Tax-avoiding party donations could be banned - Daily Telegraph
  • Kingfisher boss supports EU renegotiation - FT (£) 
  • Use Google instead of the census - Daily Mail 
  • Tim Berners-Lee urges against online snooping - The Times (£) 
  • Sir Mervyn warns of mortgage time bomb - The Times (£) 
  • BoE boss might be nice, but so was the captain of the Titanic - Iain Martin, 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.

25 Jun 2013 08:31:23

Newslinks for Tuesday 25th June 2013

8pm LeftWatch: Labour's Welsh Education Minister resigns

7pm WATCH: Cuts in Spare Room Subsidy start to bite

6.30pm Local Government: Council spending cuts leaving more room for the Big Society

5.45pm ToryDiary: The eligibility age for welfare benefits should be raised to 21

3.45pm WATCH: Greedy MEPs caught on camera

3.30pm Local Government: Labour split on school academies

2.30pm ToryDiary: Bald Boris will still be a winner

SalisburycathedralNoon As the spending review announcement looms, Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment is appalled by the scale of the national debt, which could pay for the rebuilding of Salisbury Cathedral from silver bullion - four times over

11.45am ToryDiary: Welsh Secretary David Jones is resisting further devolution

ToryDiary: Married Couples Tax Allowance due in 2015

Columnist Brooks Newmark: Why Israel must find a means of negotiating with Hamas

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Don't tell me...It's him off the telly

Also on Comment: Charlie Elphicke says Big businesses should pay small businesses on time

Local Government: Troubled Families programme expanded

The Deep End: The massive tax on London that rich people don’t seem to mind

TelegraphmarriedMarried couples tax breaks to be offered

"Tax breaks worth up to £150 to married couples will be written into law by David Cameron before the next election, a Treasury minister has promised. David Gauke gave a “firm commitment” to help married couples within the next two years, amid growing unrest among Tory MPs about the lack
of support for traditional families.... the most likely date for its introduction is April 2015, which would be during the next general election campaign. However, the source said it was still possible that ministers could legislate for the change in this parliament and delay its implementation." - Daily Telegraph


May pledges to purge police corruption

"Theresa May has pledged to be "ruthless about purging corruption from the police" following claims officers took part in a smear campaign against the family of Stephen Lawrence. The Home Secretary said the allegations would be thoroughly investigated, after former officer Peter Francis claimed he was asked to spy on relatives of the murdered teenager. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs May said the Metropolitan Police have referred the claims of wrongdoing to their independent watchdog." - Daily Telegraph

  • "Cops stand accused of attempting to smear murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence’s parents to discredit their campaign for justice. The Prime Minister wants to “get the full truth out”. But Theresa May has acted too hastily in lumping these abhorrent claims into two existing inquiries. They’ll dismiss them in a footnote." - The Sun Says

TimesdoctorsDoctors reject longer hours and round on Hunt...

"Doctors’ leaders were accused of ignoring the wishes of patients yesterday by mocking plans for more NHS services at evenings and weekends. The British Medical Association claimed that the idea of what it called a “Tesco NHS” was absurd and unaffordable. It also rounded on Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, accusing him of maligning the health service for ideological reasons." - The Times (£)

  • "It is extraordinary to hear Mark Porter, who chairs the BMA Council, complain that it is “ridiculous” to expect the NHS to be open longer out of office hours and at the weekends. Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, is preparing plans for routine operations, clinics and tests to take place out of hours. The rationale is that they will be more convenient for patients, diagnosis will be accelerated and hospital stays will be shorter. Yesterday the BMA voted against the plans by a large majority." - Leader The Times (£) Lansley is challenged by whistleblower

"The whistleblower at the health regulator who had raised concerns over care at the Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust has accused Andrew Lansley, the former health secretary, of giving an inaccurate account of the circumstances in which she spoke out. Kay Sheldon, a board member at the troubled Care Quality Commission, disputed Lansley's account of events that he gave in an interview on Sunday, and repeated claims that she had been threatened with being fired." - Guardian

>Yesterday: Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment:  We need a judge-led inquiry into the NHS - one which goes right to the top. "It should reveal the relationships and interrelationships between NHS managers, Department of Health Officials, Secretaries of State and Ministers at the time. It should look at how appointments were made, and where interests of individuals lay, who know what and when."

GovemGove clashes with Clegg over free nursery places

"An attempt to save £380m by cancelling a plan to further extend access to free nursery education has been at the centre of one of the most bitter battles in the comprehensive spending review due to be announced Wednesday. Whitehall sources said Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and Michael Gove, the education secretary, clashed over the plan, with the issue taken to the most senior ministers by Clegg last Wednesday. Gove had proposed that the plan to provide 15 hours a week of free nursery education to a further 20% of low income families from next year be shelved." - Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Clegg should be more annoyed than Osborne about Vince's Spending Review games

Troubled Families scheme extended....

"The government's "troubled families" project is to be extended to help a further 400,000 households who have financial and social problems. An additional £200m will be made available to help "high-risk" families address challenges of worklessness, anti-social behaviour and truancy." - BBC

>Today on Local Government: Troubled Families programme expanded

....but what about Troubled Services?

"Louise Casey said police, job centre officials and social workers needed to change the way they
worked to realise the programme’s potential...Ms Casey singled out the police for criticism – saying that while they had to respond to 999 calls, they also needed to work to stop those calls happening in the first place." - The Independent

British Pakistanis urged to integrate

"The British Pakistani community is often closed to “indigenous” Britons, a Conservative charged with courting South Asian voters will say today. In a controversial speech, Michael Wade, chairman of the year-old Conservative Friends of Pakistan, will tell an audience of 300 Pakistani businessmen and community leaders that integration is a two-way street." - The Times (£)

GraylingnewGrayling warned of risk of reoffending increase

"Chris Grayling has been warned by his own officials that his plan to privatise probation risks an increase in reoffending. The Justice Secretary has also been told of the danger that there will be an
“unacceptable drop” in the performance of the probation service during the speedy implementation of the changes." - The Times (£)

Most pensioners back benefit cuts

"The majority of pensioners do not want special protection from the impact of public spending cuts, according to a ComRes survey for The Independent. Amid an intense political debate over the future of the basic state-pension and perks such as the winter fuel allowance, the poll suggests that most people aged 65 and over are prepared to absorb some of the pain in the age of austerity." - The Independent

  • "The government should acknowledge the new realities of what it means to be over 65 and still working. In terms of well-being, those in their 60s and 70s are fitter, healthier and more active than ever before. And on the other side of the retirement coin, work is safer, more sedentary and less physical than in the past. So while plans to raise the state pension age to 68 by 2046 are a step in the right direction, they should be going further and faster if we're ever going to get the deficit back under control." - Rory Meakin City AM

Donald MacIntyre of The Independent gives a "loony rating" (out of 5) to the Tory rebels alternative Queen's speech

"...10. Capital Punishment. To allow for capital punishment for certain offences. Loony rating: 4..." - The Independent

ByrneletterTHAT letter finally emerges

"The Coalition turned the screw on Labour over spending last night, releasing the infamous letter admitting there was ‘no money’ left at the 2010 election. Cabinet Office minister David Laws made public the glib note, left by outgoing Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne for his successor. It states: ‘Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards – and good luck! Liam.’ - Daily Mail

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: "I'm afraid there is no money" - the note itself comes to light

RaabDominic Raab says leaving EU would help free trade

"Tory veteran Ken Clarke claims British dreams of free trade can only be realised through the EU. In reality, the EU’s ebbing value as a free trade area risks being eclipsed by dwindling competitiveness and stubborn protectionism. Take cars. Last year, Britain was a net exporter for the first time
since 1976. To understand why, compare the recent performance of Honda and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Honda’s Swindon plant is the Japanese firm’s regional hub, manufacturing 90 per cent of its cars sold to Europe. Yet, falling demand has led to scaled back production. In January, Honda announced 800 job losses in Swindon. In contrast, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) produces all its cars in Britain, selling 59 per cent of them outside Europe (and just 22 per cent on the continent)." Dominic Raab City AM

Miliband invited for Syria talks

"Ed Miliband will attend a high level security briefing with defence and intelligence chiefs on the deteriorating situation in Syria later on Tuesday.  Labour leader Ed Miliband's visit to the National Security Council  will be only his second since becoming Labour leader in September 2010. ..The timing of the meeting will fuel speculation that Mr Cameron is trying to win over support from Labour MPs if he decides to intervene militarily in Syria." - Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Labour lead at 7% on YouGov - YouGov
  • Labour lead at 6% on Com Res- The Independent
  • Youngest councillor quits Labour - BBC
  • Welsh Education Minister attacked for school closure hypocrisy - BBC
  • Expenses scandal former Labour MP Joan Ryan selected again for Enfield North - Daily Telegraph

And finally...1) Tory MP Mark Harper breaks his foot table dancing

"Conservative MP Mark Harper has fallen off a table while dancing in a bar in Soho and broken his foot. A spokesman for Mr Harper's office confirmed the 43-year-old MP for the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire had suffered the injury. Mr Harper, who is the Minister for Immigration, is recovering and his foot is in a cast, the spokesman added. "My wife Margaret was with me but thankfully she's a far better dancer so didn't fall off," Mr Harper said." - BBC

And finally...2) Samantha Cameron wears orange dress

"Samantha Cameron was the centre of attention at the Conservative Party Summer Ball in a vibrant tangerine dress. The PM's wife's glowing calf-length dress was in stark contrast to her husband's dour navy suit and true blue tie. She completed the ensemble with a pair of tan heels. Government ministers, MPs and party grandees descended on Old Billingsgate Market in the City for the annual celebration." - 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 Jun 2013 08:31:47

Newslinks for Monday 24th June 2013

7pm WATCH: "The best campaign manager" - Boris is interviewed about Lynton Crosby

Liam Byrne Note
5pm LeftWatch: "I'm afraid there is no money" - the note itself comes to light

2.15pm LeftWatch: Clegg should be more annoyed than Osborne about Vince's Spending Review games 

Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 10.58.4212.15pm Charlotte Leslie MP on Comment:  We need a judge-led inquiry into the NHS - one which goes right to the top. "It should reveal the relationships and interrelationships between NHS managers, Department of Health Officials, Secretaries of State and Ministers at the time. It should look at how appointments were made, and where interests of individuals lay, who know what and when."

Noon Local Government: What about state land banking?

11am Nathan Gamester on ThinkTankCentral: Andrew Mitchell's case for international aid

We lead this morning with two family-related posts:

ToryDiary: Institutions take another battering - which shows why the people should exercise more suspicion, and more power


Jesse Norman's Column: As the election draws nearer, Miliband will be left hanging in the air like Wile E. Coyote 

Ed Holmes on Comment: The Work Programme is working – but for the hardest to help unemployed, we need to look elsewhere

Local Government: Boris is also backing the Big Society

The Deep End: The terrible truth about Germany: Nobody knows what they’re doing

Day of Scandals 1: "Rotten culture" has developed in the NHS

"At Morecambe Bay, like Mid Staffs, a rotten culture took hold. Both at the hospital where patients were supposed to be cared for, and the regulator which was supposed to be championing the vulnerable, the elderly, and the sick. Again and again, a desire not to face up to the reality of poor care saw institutional secrecy put ahead of patient safety. This was a shocking betrayal of the public and the overwhelming majority of NHS staff." - Dr Dan Poulter MP, Daily Telegraph 

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - How to heal the hospital scandals

>Friday: Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, on Comment: Addressing the silent scandal of our NHS

Day of Scandals 2: Police 'ordered officer to spy on Stephen Lawrence's family'

Police"A police officer who spent four years living undercover in protest groups has revealed how he participated in an operation to spy on and attempt to "smear" the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the friend who witnessed his fatal stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice. Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, said his superiors wanted him to find "dirt" that could be used against members of the Lawrence family, in the period shortly after Lawrence's racist murder in April 1993." - The Guardian 

>Yesterday: Christopher Salmon on Comment - There's no accountability without power. Policing governance had to change.

Day of Scandals 3: SOCA and Leveson let hacking lawyers off scot-free

"Nicola Blackwood, a Tory member of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘It was clear from our inquiry into private investigators that under-regulation meant that hacking and other criminal practices were far from confined to the media. ‘If Soca has had evidence of specific offences since 2008, we need to know exactly what they have been doing about it since then. Who else knew about this? And how did they justify the total exclusion of this evidence from the Leveson report?’" - Daily Mail 

Day of Scandals 4: BBC trustee didn't even read whistleblower warning over squandered £100m

BBC Money Funnel"Anthony Fry, chairman of the BBC Trust’s finance committee, promised MPs in 2011 that he would pay very close attention to the Digital Media Initiative (DMI), which by then was already two years late and well over budget. Last month, the project was shut down after wasting £100 million. The revelation that Mr Fry did not read the letter until after the closure of the project raises questions about whether the trust is properly performing its role of scrutinising the BBC on behalf of licence-fee payers." - The Times (£) 

Day of Scandals 5: Mugs, "anticipated car accidents" and magicians - defence contractors' wasteful claims

"Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has uncovered a string of startling claims submitted as part of multi-million-pound defence contracts. He said firms had got away with billing the Ministry of Defence for ‘inappropriate activities’ because they did not have to provide a breakdown of what their charges were for. Such profligacy, however, will be squeezed under a spending deal agreed between Mr Hammond and Chancellor George Osborne over the weekend." - Daily Mail 

Osborne finishes the Spending Round negotiations, and puts away the thumbscrews...

"George Osborne is putting away the instruments of political torture: the chancellor announced a deal had been done last night with all departments signing up to savings worth a total of £11.5bn. The chancellor had made provisions for an “inquisitorial” meeting of the so-called Star Chamber on Monday to extract final budgetary concessions from recalcitrant ministers, but it will not be needed." - FT (£) 

  • Infrastructure spending to sweeten the deal - The Times (£) 
  • £2bn for car industry - Daily Express 
  • Now Ed Balls say he will borrow more - Daily Mail 
  • Osborne mulls pensioner benefit cuts - Daily Mail 

…but can real cuts be achieved?

"On current form, without a template-shattering change to the collection and disbursement of taxpayers’ treasure, Mr Osborne has no chance whatsoever of balancing the state’s books at any time in the foreseeable future. The problem is easy to identify but hard to rectify: the relentless growth of social security. When the welfare state was launched, the idea was that government handed out cash to the unfortunate and deserving during hard times. It seemed reasonable, compassionate, even desirable."  - Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph 

May proposes £3000 immigration bonds for "high-risk" migrants - including those from India

"Mrs May said: ‘In the long run we’re interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used our public services.’ Immigration bonds have been repeatedly considered by ministers over the years, but have never been successfully introduced. Labour abandoned its own plans for a £1,000 bond in 2008 amid an outcry from migrant rights groups." - Daily Mail 

  • A clear signal on immigration - Daily Express Leader 
  • Thug can't be deported due to "right to a family life" - despite beating his children - The Sun 

Tim Montgomerie: Housing shortage is killing opportunity in Britain

Tim Montgomerie"This is in danger of adding up to a new age of privilege and inequality. Those with money and strong families will prosper. Those without either are caught in a terrible fix. Out of stagnant wages they have to find money for rising rents and year after year those already on the housing ladder get further and further ahead. Many of the brightest young people may decide to take their talents abroad where property prices and taxes aren’t so stacked against them." - The Times (£)  

Cameron and Clegg reviewing Gove's history curriculum

“The draft is with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for their approval. They have to sign off on the entire amended national curriculum. The Prime Minister, as we know, is passionate about people studying British history, but we have involved lots of historians and history teachers in redrafting it.” It was the original draft’s emphasis on British history, or what Mr Gove called “our island story”, that stoked some of the controversy. But of greater concern was the extent and detail, running from the Stone Age to the Glorious Revolution in primary school, and from the late 17th century to the election of Margaret Thatcher for ages 11-14." - The Times (£) 

Mayors are good for local democracy 

"Ranging from a former seaman to an architect and a policeman dubbed "RoboCop" with some former MPs thrown in, England’s newly installed mayors are enlivening politics in some cities but lack the tax and spending powers to make a real difference. A year after government plans to introduce the role more widely flopped, research from the University of Liverpool, the largest city outside the capital with an elected mayor, has found the post has proved popular – even if its occupant divides opinion." - FT (£) 

News in brief

  • "Spies spy" is no surprise - Ben Wallace MP, The Times (£) 
  • New questions for Miliband over lobbyist donations - Daily Mail 
  • PM writes to Guantanamo detainee's daughter - The Times (£) 
  • Highways Agency reduces speed limits rather than fix the roads - Daily Mail 
  • Generation Y move to the right - The Sun 
  • We should triple the population, says Mark Littlewood - The Times (£) 
  • Just two homes successfully navigate the Green Deal in six months - 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.

23 Jun 2013 08:59:39

Newslinks for Sunday 23rd June 2013

6pm WATCH: Andrew Neil to the NUT - You've opposed every recent education reform, have't you?

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 17.56.074pm As a debate on Police Commissioners looms in the Commons tomorrow, Christopher Salmon, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys, writes on Comment: There's no accountability without power. Policing governance had to change.

1.30pm WATCH

10.30am LeftWatch: The main economic problem for Miliband isn't content - it's credibility

ToryDiary: How to heal the hospital scandals

Mark Field MP on Comment: The Eurozone's shadow still hangs over us. So what can be done?

Whistleblowers' claims. Bribery allegations. Senior NHS managers under pressure. Demands for sackings - just another day in the Morecambe Bay blow-back

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 08.33.06
"Lansley, then health secretary, wrote to Sheldon in March last year after she raised her concerns, warning that he was considering her dismissal from the CQC board. The threat was made despite specific laws to protect whistleblowers Correspondence seen by The Sunday Times reveals Sheldon replied to Lansley, reiterating her criticisms, highlighting failures at Morecambe Bay and warning the health secretary was “shooting the messenger”." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Whistleblower describes battle with the CQC - Mail on Sunday
  • Pressure on Burnham increases amidst second whistleblower claims - Sunday Telegraph
  • Former Deputy Chief Executive and media manager of the Care Quality Commission claim that they didn't want their names withheld from the public - Mail on Sunday
  • Chief Executive of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust tried to bribe hospital victim claim - Mail on Sunday
  • Chief Executive of NHS confederation under pressure over former north-west role - Independent on Sunday
  • Priti Patel demands resignation of East of England ambulance trust chiefs - Sunday Express
  • Health Minister Norman Lamb calls for ban on face-down restraint - Sunday Express
  • Six in ten people don't trust the NHS - Sunday Times (£)
  • Hospital waiting lists reach five-year high - Sun on Sunday

Ian Birrell: The Care Quality Commission is not fit for purpose

Birrell Ian"The Health Secretary has thought about killing this bloated watchdog that never barks, but concluded the last thing the NHS needed was more upheaval. That is understandable, given the experiences of his predecessor. But I fear it may turn out to be wrong, since the body remains overloaded, with 30,261 very different organisations at 49,528 locations under its guard – although at least the new boss admits it is not fit for purpose." - The Independent on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary - How to heal the hospital scandals

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - The Morecambe Bay scandal: David Morris MP sends an open letter to Andy Burnham

Clegg sketches next LibDem manifesto "red lines"

"The next election manifesto will spell out the party’s red lines for any coalition negotiations if there is no clear winner at the polls. It will be a starting point for talks with political rivals but Mr Clegg warned activists not to expect to implement everything in it. It sets out commitments the Lib Dems would “die in a ditch” to keep if they were in a power-sharing deal, aides to Mr Clegg said. In a speech to the party’s councillors in Manchester, he acknowledged the pledge to scrap tuition fees had been a “mistake” because it could not be delivered in coalition but the next manifesto would be a “to-do list, not a flight of fancy”." - Sunday Express

  • Clegg joins Grieve in questioning Grayling solicitor reform plan - Mail on Sunday

Spending Review - the theatre. Cable briefs that he's given Osborne two fingers over Star Chamber. An "ally" says: 'Vince is not going to be summoned by George Osborne to a Star Chamber or any other hearing.'

Cable plot #2"The Business Secretary will miss a ‘Star Chamber’ hearing hosted by Mr Osborne tomorrow with David Cameron and Nick Clegg, where he was to be interrogated over his refusal to slash his £16 billion annual budget by £1 billion. Lib Dem sources close to Mr Cable dismissed the Star Chamber as ‘amateur dramatics’ – and in a move bound to be seen as a deliberate snub, he won’t even be in London tomorrow." - Mail on Sunday

  • Cable challenges Osborne on growth - Observer

Spending Review - the reality.  Nearly everything is settled.

"As it turns out, last week the Quad – Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Danny Alexander – were so relaxed about it that they didn’t even bother meeting face-to-face to sign off the cuts. They simply agreed them by email.  The top of the Coalition is even confident that Cable will relent before too long.  One source tells me: ‘Vince will be fine. He just wants to make his points.’" - Mail on Sunday

This week, the Chancellor will set out £15 billion spending plan in spending review announcement

OSBORNE GEORGE smiling"Mr Osborne is expected to say: “Britain is moving from rescue to recovery, but while the economy is leaving intensive care, we need to secure that recovery. “More than a million new jobs have been created by British businesses… but there’s more we have to do. I am setting out a long-term infrastructure plan to power Britain back into the economic premier league. We’re saving on welfare and waste to invest in the roads and railways, schooling and science.” " - Sunday Express

Matthew D'Ancona: Osborne's stock is rising

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 09.00.44"Osborne is much the most resilient member of this Government, still standing after a pounding that would have finished off most politicians – many of the blows administered by those on his own side who have no conception of the political, practical and human difficulty intrinsic to most spending cuts. His stock is rising again: everybody loves a comeback, and therein lies the basis for his second act." - Sunday Telegraph

David Smith: The challenge facing Carney when he takes over in eight days

"The third challenge is the biggest of all. Britain, for a time at least, was an economy that could grow by 3% a year alongside sub-2% inflation. Now it is a sub-2% growth economy alongside 3% inflation. The trade-off has worsened significantly. The longer inflation persists at near 3% rates, the more firms, households and markets will believe the 2% target is a fiction. Carney’s biggest task in his five years will be to return to Britain to lower inflation and higher growth. It is not clear whether he has the tools, or the scope, to do so." - Sunday Times (£)

Visitors from India, Pakistan, Nigeria and other Asian and African countries to pay cash bond before entering Britain

"From November, a pilot scheme will target visitors from seven countries who will have to pay the government a form of cash guarantee or deposit to deter immigration abuse. They will forfeit the £3,000 if they overstay in Britain and fail to return to their home countries by the time their visa has expired. The controversial move by the home secretary, Theresa May, to introduce the Australian-style system reflects her determination to show that the Tories are serious about cutting immigration and curbing abuses." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Pakistan gunmen kill foreign tourists - Observer
  • Britain builds £14 million prison in Somalia - Sun on Sunday
  • New antisocial measures won't work, says Government's Victims' Commissioner - Independent on Sunday
  • Big Brother Watch and Liberty say that new laws needed for 'out of control' intelligence agencies - Independent on Sunday
Adam Bolton tips Margot James, Claire Perry and Laura Sandys for promotion

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 09.02.56"In last year’s reshuffle Cameron made the gender balance worse by sacking Cheryl Gillan and Caroline Spelman and demoting Sayeeda Warsi. Many of his male backbenchers would like him to do the same again. Justine Greening and Maria Miller are the heads favoured to roll this time. Mightn’t this look bad? “Not if you promote Esther McVey and Elizabeth Truss into their jobs,” came the reply…Strong views well articulated put female Tories such as Margot James, Claire Perry and Laura Sandys on the slow boat to the top." - Sunday Times (£)

Andrew Rawnsley: The Peter Bone-head manifesto

"The dedication of these unreconstructed rightwingers comes from intense passion. They hate coalition. They despise David Cameron. They don't even seem to like being in office. They behave as if they don't want to win the next election and would certainly rather be in opposition after 2015 than in another power-share with the Lib Dems. These irreconcilables are the most vivid manifestation of a malady that has a grip on quite a lot of the Conservative party." - The Guardian

Miliband: Nigella - I would have intervened (i.e: Up yours, Clegg)

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 09.06.07"Mr Miliband said yesterday: ‘I thought they were horrifying pictures. ‘Honestly, if you are passing by something like that happening, our duty is to intervene.  'If I had been in that situation, passing  by in those circumstances, the right thing to do is to go up to somebody involved in that and say, “What’s going on?” ’ Yesterday, Neil Kinnock also waded into the row by revealing that he would have ‘felt compelled’ to intervene." - Mail on Sunday

John Rentoul: If Miliband abandons more spending, what's the point of voting Labour?

"Complaining that the Government is cutting "too far and too fast" has been the one big, easy-to-understand difference between the parties on economic policy for three years. Once it has gone, what's the point of voting Labour? Hence the ambiguity at the heart of Labour's new position. Note that Balls reserved the right to borrow more for "long-term capital investment". The soft fudge of Miliband's speech yesterday was its talk of "investing for the long term" without admitting that this might mean borrowing more. My guess is that, as the economy picks up, the option of higher "borrowing to invest" will also be abandoned." - Independent on Sunday

Cameron re-recruits "vanity photographer" claim

CAMERON DAVID BLUE SHIRT"Corporal Tom Robinson has been seconded from the MoD as Mr Cameron’s personal photographer at No 10 two years after a public outcry forced the Prime Minister to get rid of his own Downing Street cameraman. Cpl Robinson, 33, who has served in Afghanistan, was seen last week coming in and out of Downing Street in his ‘civvies’ after taking photographs of Mr Cameron meeting foreign dignitaries." - Mail on Sunday

News in Brief:

And finally…Cameron spotted wheeling across Regent's Park on child's scooter - Sun on Sunday


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