Conservative Home

« Newslinks for Saturday 20th July 2013 | Main | Newslinks for Monday 22nd July 2013 »

Newslinks for Sunday 21st July 2013

5pm WATCH: Cameron on Crosby and tobacco: "He hasn't intervened."

4.45pm MPsETC: Brady and Jenkin urge Cameron to ditch the Lib Dems next year

11am ToryDiary: From firmness on internet standards to wobbliness on Crosby – Cameron’s Marr interview

ToryDiary: Allowing tuition fees to rise above £9,000 (in some cases) may not be a bad idea

James Duddridge MP on Comment: Could the Zimbabwe election result be decided before polling day?

Block child pornography or I'll make you do it, Cameron warns internet firms

DC"In a speech in London tomorrow, Mr Cameron will tell the internet firms to develop the plans by the autumn or face new laws forcing them to do as he says. ... He will say: ‘I have a very clear message for Google, Bing, Yahoo and the rest. You have a duty to act on this and it is a moral duty.’" - Mail on Sunday

"After more than two years of undisputed leadership, Silk Road – the one-stop shop for drugs, porn and dodgy documents described as an 'amoral eBay' – is facing a challenge from a rival hungry for a slice of its multimillion-pound revenues." - Independent on Sunday

  • "David Cameron, the social reformer, takes on the pornographers" - Matthew d'Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • "It is absurd to claim purging the web of child abuse images is a slippery slope to censorship, even of political parties. ... All civilised people agree these pictures are evil as well as illegal." - Sun on Sunday editorial

Cameron faces further Crosby questions

LC"Labour has urged David Cameron to investigate claims that a contract that his electoral strategist, Lynton Crosby, signed to provide the cigarette firm Philip Morris International (PMI) with lobbying services could be worth as much as £6m." - The Observer

"The government’s case for ditching plain packaging for cigarettes was crumbling this weekend with the release of a study from Australia indicating that the policy does discourage smoking." - Sunday Times (£)

  • "Google is a good target for Ed Miliband. David Cameron's adviser Lynton Crosby isn’t" - John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • "The Crosby show rekindles Tory fighting spirit" - Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • "Crosby rarely gives interviews. We know he loved debating at school, he enjoys steak, a good red and the theatre, and visits his two daughters and grandchildren in Australia. But there are few clues as to what drives his political passion, apart from loving to win." - from the Observer's profile of Crosby

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Crosby – will Cameron adopt the ConservativeHome solution?

Japan warns the Prime Minister, don't leave the EU...

Flag"The Japanese government has waded into the debate over Britain’s relationship with Europe, issuing an extraordinary warning against leaving the EU. ... The Tokyo government has hinted that 130,000 British jobs could be at stake if the UK pulls out of the union." - Sunday Times (£) Hague's audit strengthens the case for renegotiation


"Complying with European Union regulations is costing Britain billions of pounds a year, the first official audit of the cost of membership is to disclose. ... The burden on British businesses will be laid bare in a series of reports which will be published tomorrow by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary." - Sunday Telegraph

"Dave has got his eye in and he's knocking Ed for six" - James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

  • "David Cameron listens to Sam. Pity he won't give more women jobs" - Catherine Bennett, The Observer

Glad tidings for Osborne, as growth is expected to double...

Upturn"Figures from the Office for National Statistics, released on Thursday, are expected to show that GDP in the three months to June grew 0.6%, up from 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. Some City forecasters are expecting growth of up to 0.8%." - Sunday Times (£)

...but Will Hutton argues that "Britain's 'recovery' is a fantasy that hides our weakness"

"What usually takes no more than two years will have taken six – the slowest recovery for more than a century. Exports are effectively unchanged, even to faster growing non-EU countries, despite a 25% devaluation. Company investment has collapsed by 34%. Real wages are 9% below their peak – they rose in every other postwar recession – and are set to fall further." - Will Hutton, The Observer

  • Government's tax and benefit changes to widen income inequality, claims Fabian Society report -Independent on Sunday

Hunt does shifts at hospitals to investigate patient complaints, interview reveals

Jh"To learn how patients feel, Hunt, 46, takes time out from his Cabinet duties each week to investigate individual complaints from patients. And hospital porters have been shocked to find the ‘new boy’ doing a shift in ‘scrubs’ alongside them is the Health Secretary." - Mail on Sunday

  • Five nurses face charges over scandal at Stafford - Sunday Telegraph
  • "Eleven new hospitals are likely to be added to the danger list of failing NHS trusts, the Department of Health has warned." - Sunday Times (£)
  • "Some hospitals are asking a single consultant to oversee 100 patients during busy periods at the weekend" - The Sunday Times (£)
  • NHS urged Met to hide scale of Samile abuse - The Sunday Times (£)
  • "A&E departments are in crisis with a major shortage of senior doctors — and it will get worse, MPs are being warned." - Sun on Sunday
  • "Free NHS health checks could save up to 650 lives a year, a study reveals." - Sun on Sunday
  • Prescription cheats costing the NHS around £100 million a year - Mail on Sunday

"This jab of patient power will make the NHS better" - Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)

  • "Patients are badly treated by politicians in the US and Britain" - Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Uh-oh – ministers consider raising tuition fees above £9,000 (for courses that lead to high-earning careers)

PAY RISE"A radical shake-up of student loans is being considered by the government to reward universities that offer courses leading to high-earning careers and penalise those that do not. ... Institutions whose graduates are likely to receive high salaries could be allowed to charge more than the current maximum of £9,000 a year for a degree." - Sunday Times (£)

> Today in ToryDiary: Allowing tuition fees to rise above £9,000 (in some cases) may not be a bad idea

Government criticised for its plans to change extradition proceedings

"Ministers are using a clause ‘slipped’ into an anti-social behaviour Bill to scrap the automatic right of all UK citizens to go the High Court to fight extradition to face trial in another country. ... The move has been described as a ‘betrayal’  of those facing extradition to countries where prosecution evidence may be weak." - Mail on Sunday

Ministry of Defence shake-up in "crisis"

MoD"The Government’s heavily criticised plan to 'privatise' the £14bn defence agency that buys the armed forces’ tanks and missiles is in crisis, as all of the companies bidding to run the organisation have acute conflicts of interest. ... The firms are worried they will be compromised by their existing contracts with the MoD if they win the right to run Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S)." - Independent on Sunday

Andrew Tyrie's disappointment after Government ignores banking proposals

"Mr Tyrie, who is also the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said the decision to ignore the Commission on Banking Standards’s proposal on proprietary trading was 'very regrettable'. He said it was 'very disappointing' that the Government would not be giving regulators powers to call for the separation of retail and investment banks." - Sunday Telegraph

Tory MPs urge Cameron to split the Coalition next year...

Crack"Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of back-bench MPs, and Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said the Conservatives need 'at least six months' apart from the Liberal Democrats to win voters’ confidence. ... Another senior Tory, who served in the Government but declined to be named, added: 'This makes sense, not just for us but also for the Lib Dems.'" - Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: That question crops up again, when should the Tories split from the Lib Dems?

...threaten to revolt over the development of green belt land

"Downing Street has been warned that there is mounting anger among backbenchers that a government commitment to protecting the green belt is being flouted. ... Last week, about 50 MPs, spearheaded by Tories from rural and suburban constituencies, launched an all-party group on green belt protection. ... The group has met the planning minister, Nick Boles, and is demanding new powers of appeal for residents unhappy with proposed developments." - Sunday Times (£)

Documents reveal HS2's threat to Britain’s wildlife and woodlands - Sunday Telegraph

  • "The Tories should spare a thought for rural Britain" - Sunday Telegraph editorial

...and question the Government's efforts to tackle climate change abroad

Palms"Britain is splurging an extra £39million on fighting climate change abroad — as squeezed taxpayers face more austerity at home. ... Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough in Northants, blasted: 'To spend nearly £1billion a year on overseas aid is difficult enough. But when it is spent on climate change it seems a total waste of money.'" - Sun on Sunday

  • "Most people have no idea Britain borrows nearly £1billion a year to fight climate change abroad. ... Nothing highlights the madness of our aid giveaway better than that figure. And it’s due to rise by £39million." - Sun on Sunday editorial

Rob Wilson attacks the BBC over its pension arrangements 

BBC"The growing burden of these generous deals has contributed to a  £600 million increase in the BBC's pension fund deficit over the past year to more than £1.7 billion, amounting to nearly half its yearly revenue from the licence fee. ... Last night, one Tory MP condemned the corporation's arrangements as 'a form of upper middle class benefit system' and called for an investigation." - Mail on Sunday

  • Margaret Hodge seeks to quiz BBC chiefs together over payoffs - The Observer
  • "I don't want scalps. What I want is to get at the truth" - Margaret Hodge explains her attitude towards the BBC to the Observer

Boris calls for more free school meals

"Boris Johnson has backed calls for a ban on packed lunches at school and said it 'makes sense' to boost the number of free dinners in London. ... In comments that will heap pressure on Michael Gove, the education secretary, to act, Johnson also said: 'Evidence now of how many children are leaving primary school obese is very sad and worrying.'" - Sunday Times (£)

Len McCluskey, his former lover, and another Labour scandal 

LM"The union baron accused of Commons seat rigging is at the centre of a new scandal after a former mistress who gave birth to his child when he was married was given a top job in his union. ... Unite union leader Len McCluskey’s ex-lover, Jennie Formby, was last month given the £75,000-a-year post of Unite political director, with the task of getting more union supporters picked as Labour Parliamentary candidates. - Mail on Sunday

  • " unionism’s old diseases still flourish, particularly a distressing form of cronyism, mixed up with furtive far-Left factional manoeuvring." - Mail on Sunday editorial

As Mandelson faces a sleaze probe

PM"Labour grandee Lord Mandelson is facing a sleaze probe over claims he broke House of Lords lobbying rules. ... Tories are demanding the standards watchdog investigates his link with an Asian paper giant." - Sun on Sunday

"Fewer than one in four voters think Ed Miliband will be prime minister in 2015, according to a new poll" - Mail on Sunday

Sir Bruce Keogh apologises to Andy Burnham for the Tory attacks that have followed his report

"The medical director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh, has privately apologised to the shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, over the Tories' 'political operation' to use his report into the death rates at 14 hospital trusts as an attack on Labour's record." - The Observer 

  • "The Mail on Sunday has discovered one of [Burnham's] staff deleted references on his profile where he was accused of ‘ignoring and suppressing information linked to the appalling standards of care’ at Mid Staffs." - Mail on Sunday

Twigg wades into Olympics legacy row

London"Research by The Sun found some rural Tory seats will get around five times more for each primary school kid than urban constituencies mostly held by Labour. ... Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: 'David Cameron has broken his Olympic legacy promises.'" - Sun on Sunday

John Sentamu on the "national scandal" of low wages

"The archbishop attacks successive governments which, he says, have stood by and watched as company bosses have taken huge profits and pay packages for themselves while refusing to reward their employees. ... He argues that it is both morally and economically wrong for government to give tacit approval to an approach that lands the state with a huge bill to top up the incomes of the lowest earners." - The Observer

  • "The scandal of the millions not paid enough to live on" - John Sentamu, The Observer
  • "A living wage is vital, morally and economically" - Observer editorial

Peter Hitchens: we don't need Trident, we should quit pretending we're a great power

PH"Modern Russia poses no military threat to us, and isn’t even very interested in  us. Nor is China, which has plenty to occupy her in Asia. ... The real danger to this country comes from our supposed friends in the European Union and the USA, who have successfully subjugated and bullied us without a shot being fired." - Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

Pardoning Alan Turing is a pointless exercise, says Ben Summerskill

"It's quite proper we've started writing off convictions for people who are still alive for trivial matters that would no longer be criminal offences. ... However, it's already too late for the countless thousands of innocents, not as eminent as Turing, who had their lives ruined as well. And perhaps rather pointless." - Ben Summerskill, The Observer

News in brief

  • Ukip activist's trauma over "assault" at party conference - Sunday Telegraph
  • CBI head backs third runway for Heathrow - Sunday Telegraph
  • Crown Prosecution Service refuses to name the civil servant who landed a £623,555 redundancy package - Mail on Sunday
  • The “blaggers’ training manual” used by private investigators working on behalf of blue-chip firms - Sun on Sunday
  • Taxpayers paid £2million to clear gypsies and travellers from illegal camps last year - Sun on Sunday
  • Academy chain under fire following revelation of payments made to bosses - The Observer
  • Dangerous criminals caught trying to get school jobs - Independent on Sunday
  • Allotment-holders take legal action against Eric Pickles - Independent on Sunday
  • The Sun's new editor aims to "reinvent" Page 3 - Independent on Sunday

And finally 1)... Whitehall's booze consumption (with a little help from William Hague)

Wine"The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the Foreign Secretary takes time off from the world stage to personally select fine wines  - some worth £200 a bottle - for official functions. ... Meanwhile Ministers, officials and guests downed more than 3,900 bottles of wines and spirits in the space of only nine months last year." - Mail on Sunday

  • "Diplomats blew almost £8.5million of taxpayers’ cash on posh plane seats last year — despite a crackdown on fancy travel." - Sun on Sunday
  • "Whitehall civil servants were handed 'golden goodbye' deals worth more than £185m last year, despite pledges by ministers to ban excessive pay-offs." - Sunday Times (£)

And finally 2)... Cameron and Clegg's holiday plans

Plane-taking-off"Deputy PM Nick Clegg is making the most of Parliament’s six-week summer holiday by having two foreign breaks. ... David Cameron is also taking his family on two holidays this summer, but only one abroad. ... Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg will be away at the same time for part of the summer, leaving Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May in charge." - Sun on Sunday

And finally 3)... Twittering into the wind

"They tweet constantly from the chamber, the tea rooms and the terrace, but it seems that MPs’ precious words may be falling on deaf ears. ... A new study of MPs’ use of social media has revealed that some of Westminster’s most prolific users of Twitter have the lowest number of followers." - Sunday Times (£)


> 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.