Conservative Home

« Newslinks for Sunday 14th July 2013 | Main | Newslinks for Tuesday 16th July 2013 »

Newslinks for Monday 15th July 2013

7pm ToryDiary: Wow! Conservative support surges by seven points with ICM. The Party draws level with Labour. But is the poll a rogue?

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 18.56.57
6.30pm WATCH: A triple-bill of Conservative videos:

3pm Local Government: Labour councillor loses selection battle - despite being the only candidate

1pm ToryDiary: A hearty welcome for Renewal, the new campaign group designed to extend the Tories’ electoral appeal

11.15am ToryDiary: The benefits cap goes nationwide today – another reminder that welfare will feature heavily in 2015

Two Europe-related items lead ConservativeHome today:

Mark Field MP on Comment: Will hugging close to Coalition spending plans really help make Labour more electable?

MPsETC: Demon Eyes singe Bluebirds amidst the fires of hell

Steve O'Connell on Local Government: Don't let "affordable housing" rules stifle the new homes that London needs

The Deep End: What’s the difference between a high street banker and a back street fraudster?

Cameron has ditched his plan to arm the Syrian rebels...

Syria"David Cameron has ditched plans to arm the Syrian rebels after being warned by military chiefs that there is little point sending weapons unless he is prepared for all-out war with the Assad regime. ... Instead, senior ministers and Whitehall officials have revealed that the Coalition is drawing up plans to help train and advise moderate elements of the opposition forces battling Bashar al-Assad’s forces." - Daily Mail

  • "Veterans need our help on the home front" - Andrew Cameron, Daily Telegraph

...or has he? The Times says that Samantha Cameron is pushing him to act...

SC"David Cameron is being pushed to do more to intervene in Syria’s civil war by his wife, Samantha, according to senior government figures. Mrs Cameron is the 'biggest explanation' for the Prime Minister’s hawkish posture on the conflict which has already cost almost 100,000 lives, a Cabinet minister said." - The Times (£)

  • "Samantha Cameron exerts a powerful influence over her husband because — not in spite of — the fact that she takes little interest in day-to-day politics." - The Times (£)

...while Tim Montgomerie argues that Mrs Cameron is No.10's "real moderniser"

"The Downing Street operation is understandably protective of the PM's wife. Any discussion of her role and her politics is met with a closing of the drawbridge. Nonetheless, I'm told that one of her most important roles is to keep her husband grounded and in touch with what voters are thinking." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Lynton Crosby, Tories and tobacco

Cigarette"Nine Tory MPs have accepted free tickets to the opera and the Chelsea Flower Show from a giant tobacco company. ... David Cameron has been accused of dropping [plain] packaging proposals following lobbying from his Australian elections guru Lynton Crosby, whose firm works for global tobacco giant Philip Morris." - Daily Mail

"David Cameron's top political adviser will be forced to disclose the clients who use his lobbying consultancy under legislation to clean up the industry to be published tomorrow." - The Times (£)

"David Cameron came under renewed pressure to sack his party’s elections adviser Lynton Crosby on Sunday night as environmental activists expressed concern about his links to the fracking industry." - The Independent

  • "Too sharp a focus on Mr Crosby risks diverting attention away from the bigger and more permanent conflict the Conservative Party faces: the money it receives from tobacco and alcohol companies" - Independent editorial
  • "Transparency about lobbying might, in fact, unearth a surprising truth. This industry of 61,000 employees and a turnover of £7.5 billion is usually incapable of achieving the influence that its practitioners claim." - Times editorial (£)

Amid Tory anger about the European Arrest Warrant, Theresa May says 'No' to a European Police Force

TM"The Home Secretary said the UK will not participate in a proposal to create a prosecutor with jurisdiction to pursue cases across the European Union. ... And she said Britain would oppose any move to expand the Europol system of co-operation into a Europe-wide police force. ... Her intervention comes as ministers brace themselves for a Tory rebellion tonight over plans to keep Britain in the controversial EU arrest warrant system." - Daily Mail

> Today:

Gove changes the wording of the school admissions code; parents fear for full-time education

"Four-year-olds had been given an automatic right to a whole day of classes. ... But the Education Secretary removed a reference to providing them with 'full-time' education in last year's school admissions code. ... The U-turn will cause chaos for thousands of working parents left paying for childcare or looking for shift work if schools insist on educating their children part-time." - Daily Mail

  • New league tables "to shine light" on coasting schools - The Times (£)

Anna Soubry tells supermarkets to stop tempting shoppers with sweets near checkout

Orange"Supermarkets and newsagents are to be told to abolish checkout ‘guilt lanes’ that tempt shoppers with sweets and treats. ... Public health minister Anna Soubry told the Mail cynical store layouts were creating problems for the parents of young children. ... The Department of Health is drawing up an industry code of practice on the marketing of products high in fat, sugar and salt." - Daily Mail

David Skelton's campaign group to extend Tory appeal will launch today

"Tory MPs will today launch a new drive to re-style themselves as the party of the workers, not the rich. ... The new group, called Renewal, will be led by David Skelton, a former Tory candidate for North Durham. It will be launched by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles." - The Sun

  • "Here’s how the Conservatives can win back the working class" - David Skelton, Daily Telegraph
  • "A new organisation aimed at broadening the Tory appeal is asking the right questions for a party in need of a majority" - Guardian editorial
A separate Tory group is publishing a "moderate manifesto"

"Members of the Forty Group are frustrated by what they see as the self-indulgent behaviour of some Tory MPs representing safe seats, whom they accuse of pursuing campaigns which repel voters in the centre ground. ... The Forty Group will counterattack on Monday by publishing a moderate manifesto setting out 40 policy ideas that address a range of social and business issues, but which barely mentions the EU – a central party flashpoint." - Financial Times

And a cross-party, pro-EU group (chaired by Ken Clarke) will concede the need for reform

KC"The British Influence group will make the economic case for the EU, arguing that UK industry would be unable to compete in the global market place outside the EU when it launches a manifesto. ... However, the document will concede the need for major reform." - The Times (£)

  • "EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton has been criticised for seeking to 'expand her empire' at a time when other EU agencies are having their budgets cut." - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Ashley Fox MEP on Comment: Where now for Britain’s relationship with Europe?

Robert Halfon leads demands for a proper probe into petrol price fixing

"MPs will today demand a major probe into claims of petrol price fixing. ... Tory Rob Halfon will present a 30,000-name petition to the Office of Fair Trading calling for a full UK inquiry into soaring road fuel costs." - The Sun

"Letting developers vandalise the countryside won't solve the housing crisis," says Nick Herbert

NH"The vandalism of rural Britain isn't happening with ordered precision. Each year, an area of countryside the size of Southampton is covered with concrete. But we aren't building inspiring new towns or green cities. ... No, this loss is horribly random. Dismal, identikit developments disfigure historic market towns. Precious green spaces between villages are thoughtlessly destroyed." - Nick Herbert, The Guardian

> Today, by Steve O'Connell on Local Government: Don't let "affordable housing" rules stifle the new homes that London needs

Differentiation-a-go-go: Hammond criticises Lib Dem plans for Trident

"In a strongly-worded article for the Daily Mail, Mr Hammond accuses Nick Clegg of taking a ‘reckless’ gamble with national security by pushing for the trusted Trident system to be replaced by a cut-down deterrent. ... His intervention comes as leaked documents reveal an extraordinary Lib Dem plan to halve the number of Trident submarines  from four to two and send them to sea unarmed." - Daily Mail

Norman Lamb calls on Neighbourhood Watch to help "lonely and miserable" pensioners

NW"Norman Lamb argues that more than a million pensioners could be cared for by the anti-crime groups. ... He also described the country’s attitude to the elderly as ‘uncivilised’ and urged the public to acknowledge that pensioners living nearby need their help." - Daily Mail

  • "Private companies can provide a public service" - DeAnne Julius, Financial Times
  • "For Tories, privatisation is still a matter of dogmatic faith" - Owen Jones, The Independent

> Yesterday, by Phillip Blond on Comment: Why the Government needs to let the Church of England deliver more public services

Ed Davey versus the Taxpayers' Alliance

"The Energy Secretary Ed Davey has attacked the Taxpayers’ Alliance – accusing the campaign group of making 'dodgy, back-of-fag-packet claims' about energy bills. ... The Liberal Democrat minister hit out after the low-tax pressure group published figures claiming that household energy bills could reach £2,000 per household by the end of the decade" - The Independent

  • Town halls allowing solar farms over fears of legal action, minister says - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: "The vast majority of climate change scientists believe that man-made activity is causing climate change," says Davey

Labour caught up in the row over NHS standards

NHS"In a devastating intervention, Professor Sir Brian Jarman said previous health ministers had presided over a ‘denial machine’ designed to prevent criticism of the NHS. ... A report by the NHS’s medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh, tomorrow will detail a shocking catalogue of failure at 14 hospital trusts held responsible for up to 13,000 ‘excess deaths’ since 2005." - Daily Mail

"Health chiefs will face the sack if they fail to carry out major changes after a report revealed up to 13,000 hospital patients died needlessly under their care." - The Sun

Further NHS news:

  • NHS hit for millions by overcharging "scam" - The Independent
  • Patients admitted to hospital are 27% more likely to die at weekends, says study - Daily Mail
  • Thousands of elderly are losing their sight as NHS rations cataract surgery - Daily Mail

And comment:

  • MP"At the core of all this lies the crumbling of the notion that there is an absolute value to human life. This terrifying collapse of the most fundamental building block of a civilised society is the outcome of the widespread dumping of religious belief." - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • "These are huge figures — too big to be brushed aside as the inevitable casualty rate of an under-pressure health service treating one million patients a day." - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • "As with the abuses of the Liverpool Care Pathway, where the medical profession resisted any inquiry, so with the rest of the NHS: only publicity and transparency can bring about the beginnings of reform." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Jeremy Hunt is right to take tough measures. Nothing is more important than making sure that hospitals are safe." - Sun editorial
  • "Labour remains in denial over NHS responsibility" - Daily Telegaraph editorial

> Yesterday on Tory Diary: The roots of the NHS scandal are in a culture that grants human life no absolute value

Will Labour enshrine a human right to claim benefits?

"Labour is drawing up plans to make claiming benefits a ‘human right’ despite fresh evidence of overwhelming public support for the Government’s welfare crackdown. ... Shadow minister Willie Bain revealed that senior members of Labour leader Ed Miliband’s team have asked him to examine the issue, despite fears it would be dubbed a ‘scroungers’ charter’." - Daily Mail

The benefits cap is being rolled out across the country today - The Sun

David Miliband warns against Labour complacency

DM"David Miliband took a parting shot at his brother yesterday, warning that Labour complacency risks allowing the Tories to win an outright majority at the next election. ... The former Foreign Secretary said senior Labour figures were ‘wrong’ to assume the next election would result in a hung Parliament which would allow Ed Miliband to become Prime Minister in a Lib/Lab coalition." - Daily Mail

  • David Miliband urges leaders to embrace "political Islamism" in Egypt - Financial Times
  • Andrew Marr's return to the BBC, interviewing David Miliband, was welcomed by MPs and viewers on Twitter - The Sun

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: David Miliband on his future - "If you over-calculate, you miscalculate"

News in brief

  • New regulator warns of heavy penalities for anti-competitive companies - Financial Times
  • Fawcett Society accuses the Government of "weakening the legal and institutional measures concerned with equality" - The Guardian
  • Network Rail debts could climb to £50bn by 2020 - The Guardian
  • Small businesses in northern England set to suffer most from coalition cuts, claims think-tank - The Guardian
  • MPs demand further answers over BBC payoffs - The Times (£)
  • Charles Moore reviews the book Maggie and Me by Damian Barr - Daily Telegraph

And finally... Brown on stage at the Labour conference (but not like that)


"...the low-profile Brown is set for a starring role during the Labour Party conference in Brighton, despite the best efforts of the Labour leadership not to let anyone know. A new play — The Confessions Of Gordon Brown — is being staged outside the conference zone at The Old Courtroom. ... It is a hilarious expose of the betrayals and backstabbing that propelled Brown to No 10, and the subsequent collapse of his premiership." - Andrew Pierce, 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.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.