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23 Jul 2013 08:30:22

Newslinks for Tuesday 23rd July 2013

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 20.58.09
9pm WATCH: First public viewing of royal baby

5.30pm LeftWatch: Labour's job advert for a new spinner reveals the holes in their operation

2.45pm ToryDiary: "Maybe Coalition politics or civil service intransigence makes a proper, punchy review unfeasible at the moment - but if that is the case, it might have been better not to start a halfway house process rather than end up with a fudge which provides ammunition to our enemies in Brussels and at home." - If it carries on like this, the review of EU powers is set to fail - and here are four reasons why

11.30pm Lucius Winslow on Comment: Why Conservatives have a future in Northern Ireland

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 07.51.20ToryDiary: The royal baby may be crowned King as this century grows old - testament to the monarchy's enduring power

Also on Tory Diary: Cameron limits internet porn: social conservatives in all parties will applaud

Columnist Marina Kim: Let's face it. The middle classes are becoming litterbugs

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Len is right – Unite members are not queuing up to join Labour

MPsETC: Full list of Conservative would-be MEP candidates in all regions - there's still time to use your vote - **UPDATED** with the hotline for those who haven't received their postal ballot

Roger Evans MLA on Local Government: The police should not "screen out" robbery or burglary

The Deep End: Shale gas is a global resource, but all eyes are on Britain

The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London welcome a Monarch-To-Be

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.26.08David Cameron tweeted: “I’m delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They’ll make wonderful parents.”…Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced that the fountains in Trafalgar Square would be turned blue for the next seven days using LED lighting. He said: “Huge congratulations to the Duke and Duchess on the birth of their first child who will, by virtue of being born in this great city, be a Londoner through and through.” - The Times (£)

  • 'Feel-good factor' of royal birth will give economy a bounce - Daily Express



  • A dynasty renewed - Christopher Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • Three cheers for the new Prince - Robert Hardman, Daily Mail
  • We've all had our special moment, now let Kate and Will have theirs - Grace Dent, The Independent

> Today: ToryDiary - The royal baby may be crowned King as this century grows old - testament to the monarchy's enduring power

First tranche of EU Competences Review reflects official thinking.  The balance is "broadly appropriate".  But there are some devils in the detail...

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.27.34"In conclusion, based on the evidence submitted, the current balance of competence between the EU and the UK was considered by stakeholders to be broadly appropriate and that these competences are properly applied but that competence should not be extended further. The definition of health policy, management of health services and medical care and the allocation of resources are all member state competences, and thus matters for the UK." - The Guardian

...On the single market...

"The report warned, however, that the single market had brought about "burdensome" regulations. It said: "[The single market] has brought with it constraints on policymaking of varying kinds, and a regulatory framework, which some find difficult to operate within or find burdensome, even if the obligations are not necessarily any greater than would have been imposed nationally." - The Guardian

...the Working Time Directive...

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.28.50"The report on health raised concerns about the impact of EU regulations - such as the WTD and data protection laws - on the NHS.  "There was a strong view that it is important to consult more with health departments and their stakeholders on these areas from the outset. A number of concerns were raised about the negative impact of the WTD on the NHS," it said." - Daily Express

...And genetically modified crops

"On development of genetically modified crops, the review also gave vent to concerns that the EU was applying “a political overlay that disrupts trade and stifles innovation, putting all EU countries at a competitive disadvantage”. The report on animal health and welfare also raised concerns about the pet travel scheme, adding that Britain should try to bring in more stringent controls." - Daily Telegraph

Liberal Democrat MPs cheer...

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.31.23"One Liberal Democrat minister said on Monday: “All this review has done so far is underlined rather than weakened the case for Britain’s membership of the European Union, which is not exactly the message that many Conservatives were hoping for.” - Financial Times

  • Clegg's £1bn plan to get jobs for 160,000 young people has so far helped just 4,600 - Daily Mail

...And Conservative ones boo

"The report led to a furious response from Tory Eurosceptic MPs. Peter Bone said it should prompt Conservatives to abandon the Coalition and seek to repatriate powers alone." - The Independent

The Telegraph's view: This review solves nothing - and isn't capable of doing so

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.32.22"While useful, this review will sway few hearts. Those who want to stay in will point to the advantages, and the difficulty of extricating ourselves. Those who want reform will be grateful for specific areas to prioritise. Those who want to leave will find evidence aplenty of how Britain’s sovereignty has been diluted and traduced. But in truth, a question this elemental was never going to be resolved by a few dusty dossiers." - Daily Telegraph

  • Facts finally collide with ideology on Europe - Philip Stephens, Financial Times

The Prime Minister's porn net solution. 1) Filters

"The Prime Minister said it was up to the companies to make sure that all customers were presented with an “unavoidable choice” on whether pornography could be accessed on devices using a household internet connection. “However they do it, there will be no escaping this decision, no ‘remind me later’ and then it never gets done. And they will ensure it is an adult making the choice. If adults don’t want these filters, that’s their decision,” said Mr Cameron." - The Times (£)

The Prime Minister's porn net solution. 1) Search engine bans

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.33.08'If people enter into a Google search a truly disgusting term, something that’s so obvious that the searcher is looking for illegal child abuse images, my view – and I think the view of parents up and down the country – is that the internet company shouldn’t return any results,’ he said…I’m saying look, it isn’t about free speech, these images are illegal, you shouldn’t enable people who are deliberately searching for them." - Daily Mail

But not everyone believes in 1). Or 2). Or either.

"Critics accused Mr Cameron of muddying the waters between legal and illegal pornography, and said that filtering raised questions of surveillance. “This is getting close to the kind of thing you see in Saudi Arabia,” said Paul Bernal, a law lecturer at the University of East Anglia. “We’re automatically making a list of people who have opted into porn.” - Financial Times

  • Cameron refuses to back ban on Sun's Page 3 topless images - The Guardian
  • Louise Mensch attacks plan to ban rape simulation - The Independent
  • "Children’s easy access to online pornography is a serious concern. It is right to expect big companies to tackle it." - Times Editorial (£)
  • Cameron falls prey to the lure of clunky intrusion - Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • A porn crackdown that ticks the right boxes - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

> Today: Tory Diary - Cameron limits internet porn: social conservatives in all parties will applaud

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Cameron's anti-porn plans: problematic in practice, but right in principle. Conservatives aren't libertarians.

Rachel Sylvester: The Conservatives' problem with women

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.34.06"What really matters, particularly to women, is the tone of political debate. No 10 can dream up as many announcements as it wants on childcare and maternity leave but they will ring hollow if voters then hear a Cabinet minister dismissing a female MP as a “silly woman” and the Prime Minister telling another to “calm down, dear.” The Conservatives will struggle to persuade women that they take their concerns seriously when Tory backbenchers greet a female MP who wears a leopard-print top with a “roar” and cat-scratching gestures." - The Times (£)

Paul Goodman: Don't believe Cameron's claim that he wants a majority. He's planning for a second Coalition

"In a perfect world, the PM might yearn for the landslide majorities of the Thatcher era. But in this fallen one, he knows that they are psephologically impossible. This leaves him a stark choice. Should he strain for the bare Tory majority which is scarcely possible, or plan for a more practicable outcome – a second coalition? There can be no doubt what his decision will be – indeed, what it already is. On The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Cameron protested that he wants and can gain a majority. Frankly, both claims were from the Pinocchio school of truth-telling, fit only to make his nose grow and the angels weep." - Daily Telegraph

Crosby health presentation made to cross-party gathering organised by firm run by Labour councillor

Crosby Lynton"In a statement issued by Mark Detre from the Westminster Advisers consultancy, which now advises the body, the AIHO said: "Crosby Textor Fullbrook provided research and advice into public attitudes on healthcare to H5. But Detre declined to comment on a report on the Guido Fawkes website that Westminster Advisers, run by the Labour supporter and former councillor Dominic Church, organised a cross-party meeting at the end of 2010 which was shown the Crosby Textor research. Detre said: "I'm not going to go into that. I have given you the statement we are giving out. That is all we are saying." - The Guardian

Osborne strains to circumvent migrant homes trap for taxpayer

"The Treasury is scrambling to find ways to stop European Union migrants who have paid little or no tax in the UK benefiting from the Chancellor’s Help to Buy initiative, due to be launched next year. George Osborne will today set out more detail about the scheme, which offers homebuyers’ government assistance to obtain 95 per cent mortgages on homes worth up to £600,000. A senior industry figure involved in the talks said that EU rules were causing a complication for the Treasury." - The Times (£)

  • Chancellor seeks to follow up Help to Buy success - Financial Times
  • Europe needs 1.3 billion immigrants - Oliver Kamm, The Times (£)
  • Vans encourage illegal immigrants to send texts for free advice on getting home - Daily Mail

Nick Herbert: Austerity is good for public services

Herbert Nick June 2011"Not long ago every political party paraded its virility on crime by promising more bobbies on the beat. No one stopped to ask what the record number of police was actually doing. As it turned out, a fifth – 30,000 officers – weren't working on the frontline at all, but in backroom jobs. When the crunch came, forces quickly found that there were savings to be made. Police commanders whispered quietly that a burning platform had forced them to tackle inefficiencies that had festered for years." - The Guardian

  • Staggering fall in crime rates throughout western world: in some places, it's safer than during the 1950s - Daily Mail
  • Police chiefs stay defiant by re-electing Sir Hugh Orde - The Times (£)

> Today: Roger Evans MLA on Local Government - The police should not "screen out" robbery or burglary

Miliband to put union funding plan to special conference vote

"Ed Miliband will set up a confrontation with Labour’s biggest union backers in a special conference that will debate the leader’s proposed changes to party funding and membership. In a speech on Monday, the Labour leader announced he would put his reforms – that members of affiliated unions will, in future, opt in to party membership rather than opting out – to a vote at a conference in the spring." - Financial Times

  • Prescott's fire centre 'folly' still costing taxpayers millions - The Independent

Lord Ashcroft poll finds that less than a third of Unite members would opt in to its political fund

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 08.36.31"Lord Ashcroft has released one of his inimitable polls, this time of Unite union members. It finds that only 30 per cent of members would choose to opt in to Unite’s political fund, while 53 per cent said they would not and 17 per cent had not decided. There wasn’t much support for the current opt-out system, either, with 31 per cent saying they backed it, and 57 per cent saying they preferred an opt-in. When asked whether hey would join the party, 12 per cent said they would." - Isobel Hardman, The Spectator

> Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment - Len is right – Unite members are not queuing up to join Labour

News in Brief

  • Global warming ‘just hidden from view’ - The Times (£)
  • Atos told to improve medical assessments - Financial Times 
  • Care fears over surge in elderly population - Daily Express
  • Pope Francis greeted by ecstatic crowds following arrival in Brazil - The Guardian
  • Archbishop of Canterbury says that shaming bankers is 'lynch mobbish' - Daily Mail
  • Children in some military families risk falling behind in school, MPs warn - Daily Telegraph
  • Lightning show dazzles the south coast as summer lightning comes - Daily Express


> 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.

22 Jul 2013 08:42:03

Newslinks for Monday 22nd July 2013

Midnight Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Len is right – Unite members are not queuing up to join Labour

9.30pm WATCH: The Royal baby announcement is made


Tweet6.45pm WATCH: Cameron on the Royal baby – "The whole country is excited"

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at MPsETC:  Brian Binley MP to leave the Commons at the next election

3.45pm LeftWatch: "Britain’s recovery may not be evenly spread nor particularly fast-paced, but it’s still a recovery. The Chancellor, in this case, might take solace from the fact that Balls has refined his attack." Balls adapts for a growing economy

1.15pm Andrew Selous MP on Comment: We should do more to tackle the biggest-killing cancer among the under 40s – brain tumours

11.45am LeftWatch: "The difference between Left and Right is like the response of a village whose stream regularly floods. Owen Jones thinks that water is the problem, and will divert all our energies to trying to abolish it...Conservatives would rather build a dam, and a watermill which will power the village." We're not evil, just wicked - Owen Jones' generosity (and logic) falls a bit short

10.15am Local Government:

ToryDiary: Cameron's anti-porn plans: problematic in practice, but right in principle. Conservatives aren't libertarians.

JNColumnist Jesse Norman MP writes about Milton Friedman, Adam Smith and... Tim Worstall: "Tim’s standard operating procedure is (a) read something he doesn’t like, (b) reach for his shotgun, and (c) blow the end of his own foot off."

Joe Armitage on Comment: There's nothing much wrong with the current system of funding political parties

Cllr Duncan McGinty on Local Government: Community benefit for nuclear power is localism in action

The Deep End: High risk and low reward, we shouldn’t pretend that banking can ever be safe

More details about Cameron's speech today, including a nationwide block on internet pornography

No"David Cameron will announce the move today among a series of measures cracking down on against the tide of web sleaze. ... By the end of next year, all 19 million UK homes currently connected to the net will be contacted by service providers and told they must say whether family-friendly filters that block all porn sites should be switched on or off. ... From the end of this year, all new customers setting up a broadband account or switching provider will have the filters automatically switched on unless they opt to disable them to allow sites with ‘adult content’." - Daily Mail

"Google and Microsoft have promised to co-operate with the British government’s crackdown on online pornography, after David Cameron threatened to introduce a new law if they failed to act before the autumn." - Financial Times

  • "...Mr Cameron’s sincerity in wanting to tackle online porn shouldn’t be doubted and these proposals are an excellent start. But there is much more to do." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "It’s hard not to suspect a degree of political opportunism in the Prime Minister’s decision to turn up the heat on internet companies over images of child abuse." - Independent editorial
  • " is startling to find a Prime Minister acting so decisively like this against a presumed liberal consensus and in defence of orderly family values." - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • "Why David Cameron's war on internet porn doesn't make sense" - Tom Meltzer, The Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: Cameron's anti-porn plans: problematic in practice, but right in principle. Conservatives aren't libertarians.

And coverage of his Marr interview yesterday, featuring Samantha Cameron...

SC"Mr Cameron said his wife had been ‘very moved’ by her visit to Lebanon in March, where half a million Syrians have fled. ... But he insisted it was a ‘total urban myth’ that UK policy was affected by her experiences there on a humanitarian mission with the Save The Children charity." - Daily Mail cuts and the shelf-life of the Coalition...

"David Cameron said yesterday that he aimed to cut taxes for ordinary families further – but admitted he could not give blanket promises on the issue. ... The Prime Minister said he looked forward to being ‘liberated’ in a Conservative-only government after 2015 which would want to ‘give people back some of their hard-earned money’." - Daily Mail

  • "...let’s not have theoretical discussions about what might happen after 2015. Let’s have some real action now." - Sun editorial
  • "Yesterday, David Cameron unwittingly demonstrated the political perils of an equivocal answer." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Brady and Jenkin urge Cameron to ditch the Lib Dems next year

...and the Prime Minister's denials about Lynton Crosby

LC"In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr yesterday, Mr Cameron was asked three times if he had spoken to Mr Crosby about the issue [of cigarette packaging], but dodged the question. ... He said: ‘He [Crosby] has not intervened in any way on this or indeed on other issues.’" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

But Crosby comes under further attack, this time over the NHS

"The lobbying firm founded by the Tories' chief election strategist, Lynton Crosby, advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived 'failings' in the NHS, according to a leaked document obtained by the Guardian. ... The existence of the presentation by Crosby Textor to the H5 Private Healthcare Alliance will add to pressure on David Cameron." - The Guardian

  • "Receptionists, porters and cleaners are being recruited to feed the elderly in hospital because there are not enough nurses." - Daily Mail
  • "Private medical insurers have been accused of using the NHS as a 'dumping ground' for the seriously ill by offering cash payments to customers who agree to be treated free of charge at public hospitals." - The Times (£)

What will Hague's audit discover about the EU's effect on our health service?


"The burden of EU regulation  on the NHS and businesses will be laid bare today in the first official audit of the costs of Britain’s membership. ... It comes amid alarming evidence that patient care is being put at risk by strict EU rules on working hours." - Daily Mail

"The first stage of the report – which looks at the internal market, tax and foreign policy – has been kept deliberately low key to avoid inflaming Conservative backbenchers’ passions on Europe at a time when the party is relatively at peace on the issue." - Financial Times

Hague invites companies into the Foreign Office to learn anti-terror tactics

"Mr Hague’s officials are planning to run joint exercises where companies who might be involved in disaster response play out a terrorist incident, whether a drawn-out hostage situation or a shorter attack. ... The project comes after the In Amenas attack on a BP plant in Algeria in which 39 foreign hostages and an Algerian security guard were killed." - Financial Times

Senior Tories start waxing optimistic about the economy

MH"Two senior figures in the Tory Party said they believe Britain's woes are finally lifting - almost five years after the financial crash crippled the economy. ... In a sign of increasing confidence, Lord Heseltine, a former Cabinet minister, said the 'mood has changed' in the economy and Michael Fallon, a business minister, said it is 'clear' Britain is starting to recover." - Daily Telegraph

Gove's roadshow to charm head teachers

"Michael Gove is planning a charm offensive aimed at head teachers as he seeks to overcome professional hostility towards his school reforms. ... He has discussed plans for a series of roadshows starting in the autumn in which he would travel to towns and cities around the country to debate his policies with groups of head teachers." - The Times (£)

Intra-Coalition split over plastic bags

PLastic bag"A fresh coalition row has broken out, with the Liberal Democrats accusing Tory Treasury ministers of seeking to crush a drive for supermarkets in England to charge for the seven billion plastic bags used in their stores every year." - Financial Times

  • "Britain’s dirtiest coal power stations are to be allowed to bid for hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of subsidies that could allow them to stay open well into the 2020s." - The Independent

As Tim Montgomerie says green polices haven't delivered

"I am not one of those people who deny that the climate might be changing. I don't feel qualified to question the majority of scientists who insist that warming is both real and man-made. My objection to global warming policies is more practical. They aren't succeeding in cutting emissions and they aren't going to succeed until so-called clean energy is similar in cost to conentional energy." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

David Davis and John McFall advovate more diverse sources of lending for SMEs

DD"Diversifying the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises is not just a job for experienced venture capitalists. The first and most obvious opportunity to do so lies in the £750bn of deposits idling on the balance sheets of big UK businesses.  ... If these companies took even a fraction of this money and invested it in partnerships with SMEs and start-ups, the benefits for both sides – and the economy – could be huge." - David Davis and John McFall, Financial Times

Let's copy Germany, says Boris

"How is it that respectable men and women can think it right to take their clothes off in the equivalent of Hyde Park? Why do they clap like Italians when their planes land? Why are they so good at making cars and machine tools? We have a great deal to admire and to copy, not least their treatment of cyclists." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Nick de Bois called in the police after receiving death threats - The Sun

The Tories aren't actually evil, says... Owen Jones

OJ"Cruel? Certainly. Unforgivable? Beyond doubt. Evil? No. 'Evil' is a comforting, but worrying concept. Its connotations are so extreme that, by applying it to someone, you at a stroke strip them of their humanity; you cease in any way to be able to imagine their rationales or thought processes; they simply become a cartoon villain, for whom the ultimate thrill is the inflicting of misery." - Owen Jones, The Independent

Tory MPs keep pressing and probing Labour's union links

"The Unite general secretary’s ex-lover Jennie Formby was last month given a £75,000-a-year post as the powerful union’s political director. ... She is also a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee ... Tory MP Stewart Jackson said yesterday that ‘serious questions must now be asked about whether Mr McCluskey had a conflict of interest’ in appointing Mrs Formby." - Daily Mail

  • "Labour clings on to council gravy train" - Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

While Labour bites back over disability benefits

LB"The Government’s crackdown on disability benefit payments has cost the taxpayer more than £66m in appeals, it emerged on Sunday. ... The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne, said the Department of Work and Pensions needed to 'get a grip' and laid some of the blame at the door of Atos, the company controversially contracted to run work capability assessments on behalf of the DWP." - The Independent

Miliband's plans for a living wage could harm small businesses, warns the CBI

"Labour’s proposals to increase salaries will hurt small business, according to one of the country’s main business lobbying groups. ... John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, said that Labour's idea to mkake the pay floor a condition of public procurement contracts was a 'poor idea', pointing out that contracts often went to small businesses that would not be able to afford such measures." - The Times (£)

Balls is teaming up with his old Harvard tutor to design plans for growth

Ed Balls

"Ed Balls is to join forces with the former US treasury secretary, Larry Summers, to draw up transatlantic plans to target economic growth at lower and middle income families amid warnings in Labour ranks that the recovery is only benefiting higher income groups. ... Balls, who studied under Summers at Harvard more than 20 years ago, is to travel to Washington this week for meetings with Ben Bernanke and Gene Sperling." - The Guardian

  • "Britain's modest recovery is weak, and benefits the richest most. We need a One Nation economic plan" - Ed Balls, The Guardian
  • "A recovery may be coming, but the coalition's big gamble – that by cutting public spending there would be a resurgence in private enterprise – has flopped." - Guardian editorial

Schools should offer alternatives to competitive sports, say MPs

Lines"Competitive sports put some children off exercise for life and primary schools should be told to offer less taxing alternatives, MPs have warned. ... Safeguarding Britain’s Olympic legacy is about allowing as many children as possible to enjoy the health benefits of sport through non-competitive activities, they say in a report out today." - Daily Mail

"Britain’s flagship schools sport strategy risks being little more than a 'gimmick' without long-term funding, MPs will warn today." - The Sun

News in brief

  • BBC boss says he would sanction big pay deals to Jeremy Clarkson and others again - Daily Telegraph
  • Elderly people in the countryside "are facing poverty and isolation", warns Age UK report - Daily Mail
  • Three million adults agedt 20 to 34 currently live with their parents – that could increased by 700,000 in the next seven years - Daily Mail
  • England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights - The Guardian
  • Recession has made children insecure, unhappy and isolated, warns report - The Independent
  • Family court judgments will in future be published unless there are “compelling reasons” not to - The Times (£)

And finally 1)... Michael Gove, rapper

EMinem"[TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp] said: 'I find Michael Gove very entertaining. The most fun I had recently at a dinner party was watching him get up and start gentleman rapping.' ... Gentleman rappers mimic famous American and British rappers but they sing about English pursuits such as cricket and afternoon tea." -The Sun

And finally 2)... Quentin Letts tests out Osborne's health gizmo

"We political sketchwriters were fighting the usual battle against boredom during the dusty Commons Treasury Select Committee when we first spotted the device on George Osborne’s wrist. Black and rubbery, it resembled a length of electrical tubing. One of my colleagues quipped that his wife Frances must have had him tagged." - 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.

21 Jul 2013 09:09:03

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.

20 Jul 2013 09:06:12

Newslinks for Saturday 20th July 2013

6pm WATCH: "Trayvon Martin could have been me." Barack Obama's statement on race relations

12.45pm ToryDiary: Crosby - will Cameron adopt the ConservativeHome solution?

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

Ruth Davis on Comment: How the police can use social technology and new media to cut crime

Cameron's "delight" at OECD plans to tackle tax avoidance

DC"The 'once-in-a-century' move to patch up holes in international tax rules was unveiled in Moscow by George Osborne and fellow finance ministers from France and Germany, who have together been the driving force behind calls for reform." - The Guardian

"Prime Minister David Cameron was 'delighted'. He said: 'Taxpayers, governments and businesses all suffer when some companies manipulate the tax system.'" - The Sun

Crosby under attack again, this time over fracking

LC"David Cameron was accused on Friday of giving evasive answers about the Tories' chief election strategist as the Labour party highlighted Lynton Crosby's role in promoting shale gas companies in his native Australia. ... Labour warned of a 'lobbying scandal' in Downing Street after George Osborne unveiled tax breaks for the fracking industry championed by Crosby." - The Guardian

The Lynton Crosby row is a "storm in a teacup", says Boris - Daily Telegraph

  • "[Cameron] may find solace in the news that hardly anyone knows who Mr Crosby is. But he shouldn't imagine it's only conspiracy theorists who suspect a possible link between a) employing an adviser who also represents Philip Morris and b) making an unexpected policy change about cigarette packaging." - Guardian editorial
  • "Frack, baby, frack" - Times editorial (£)

Government borrowing rises by £500 million in June

Upturn"George Osborne's debt-busting plans were dealt a blow on Friday when figures showed underlying government borrowing rose by £500m in June. ... Including a £3.9bn transfer of QE cash from the Bank of England's asset-buying drive, June's deficit fell by £3.4bn year-on-year to £8.5bn." - The Guardian

  • "...the hole in the public accounts remains cavernous – meaning that the temptation to increase taxes, either directly or indirectly, will be difficult to resist."  Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday, by Sir Andrew Green on Comment: What does immigration mean for public debt?

The Bishop of Oxford accuses Gove of marginalising religious education

"A bishop has accused the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, of marginalising religious education and called for a new national structure to agree how the subject is taught in schools. ... The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, backed a curriculum centrally determined by churches, faith groups and the Government to replace locally agreed syllabuses." - The Times (£)

Home Office defends police action against Romanian beggars...

Police"Cops rounded up 63 Romanian beggars yesterday — and handed out free flights home. ... Last night the Home Office said: 'The flights are being paid for by the Home Office. ... It is much cheaper than detaining someone.'" - The Sun MPs question the power of police commissioners to sack chief constables...

"Elected police commissioners are showing a 'worrying' ability to evade rules when sacking chief constables, MPs have warned. ... Protections in place that allow police chiefs to fight their corner if they are being forced out appear to be being side-stepped, according to the Home Affairs committee." - Daily Mail

  • MPs brand Gwent police and crime commissioner "disdainful" over tweet - The Guardian

> Today, by Ruth Davis on Comment: How the police can use social technology and new media to cut crime

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Falling crime statistics are an essential proof of concept for the Coalition - and a triumph for Theresa May

...and criticise the police who are keeping schtum over hacking

"MPs slammed Britain’s FBI yesterday after it claimed publishing a list of law firms, insurance companies and big businesses involved in hacking would breach human rights. ... senior MPs insisted the public had a right to know if big companies were breaking the law." - The Sun

May makes Litvinenko admission


"Britain’s home secretary has admitted 'international relations' were a factor in the government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the 2006 death of murdered Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. ... but they were not a 'decisive factor'." - Financial Times

> Yesterday, by Richard Royal on International: Putin's Navalny misjudgement may have created a monster

Hopes of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing

At"Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon. ... The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to 'chemical castration'. - The Guardian

  • "Those divided over gay marriage have a dangerous common enemy" - Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

After the Government's attacks, Max Hastings stands up for male-only clubs

"No political, commercial or professional body or enterprise should discriminate against women. But members of social institutions, including golf clubs, should be free to choose their own company. Nobody questions the right of women and gays to form clubs, to consort with each other. Why should not men do likewise, if it pleases them?" - Max Hastings, Financial Times

The victims of sex attacks are being failed by the justice system, says Priti Patel

PP"Out of 64,484 sickos on the Violent Sex Offender Register just 15,065 — a paltry 23.4 per cent — are currently in jail. ... Those let off jail total a terrifying 17,758 — more than one in four. ... Last night Tory MP Priti Patel, who exposed the scandal through a series of Parliamentary questions, said: 'The public will be horrified. ... Victims of these shocking crimes are being failed by the justice system.'" - The Sun

The Independent warns the Tories against attacking too hard on the NHS

"The danger for the Conservatives of this week’s bitterly partisan exchanges on the failings of the NHS is that it will undermine confidence, which might cause voters to revert to stereotypes, namely that the health service is not safe in Tory hands. By the time Labour has been out of power for five years, it will be hard to lay the blame for poorly performing hospitals." - Independent editorial

  • "If the NHS embodies our social conscience, we’re in big trouble" - Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • "Indulging in mud-slinging won’t help with the NHS" - Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • "Despite the mixed nature of Labour’s record, Mr Hunt may live to regret his decision to make the NHS a political issue." - Financial Times

Tory peer faces an investigation after boasting of his "friends at the DVLA"

DVLA"Lord Selsdon said he records the number plates of British cars when abroad if sees litter being dumped on the road before calling up his friends at the DVLA. ... The peer claimed the DVLA would then use the details to find the telephone numbers of offenders before handing them over. ... But with a possible threat to data protection laws, the DVLA said it was trying to contact the hereditary peer before considering launching a full probe." - Daily Mail

Clegg: Let's give bus passes to the young

"Children would be offered free bus travel under plans being drawn up by Nick Clegg to help families. The Deputy Prime Minister is championing the scheme within government to cut costs for families and reduce congestion on the roads. ... The policy is also intended to help encourage older children to become more independent rather than relying on their parents to provide a 'taxi service'." - Daily Telegraph

But when should the Tories decouple from Clegg?


"One influential group wants him to break the Coalition and separate from the Lib Dems after May’s European elections, so as to govern as a minority administration for the last eight or nine months before the next general election. ... However, another group of advisers wants Mr Cameron to remain yoked to Nick Clegg & Co until May 2015. This is not out of any sense of loyalty to the Lib Dems, but because they fear the Tories might need them to form a second Coalition if there is another election that results in no one party winning an outright majority." - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

  • "Tory members who long for an end to coalition must remember how much voters love rose garden politics" - Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

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

Cable blocks arms sales to Egypt

VC"Five arms export licences to Egypt have been revoked by Britain following continuing violent clashes in the country involving the military in which dozens have been killed. ... Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the move after consultations with the Foreign Office." - The Independent

Former Islamist Maajid Nawaz to fight marginal parliamentary seat for Lib Dems in 2015 election - The Independent

Are Labour and the Lib Dems beginning to unite in opposition to HS2?

"Although Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg remain strongly committed to HS2, senior figures in their parties have begun to air their private doubts in public. This has worried Conservative ministers, who are keen to maintain cross-party backing for the scheme." - The Independent

  • "Vince Cable has warned that the construction of a new high-speed rail line is not a done deal, after admitting that the case is 'still being made' for it." - The Times (£)

Chuka Umunna is profiled in the Financial Times – he's meeting regularly with Blair

CU"But some see him as the potential leader of a mainstream 21st-century Labour party with the kind of crossover appeal of Blair’s New Labour. Despite initial reservations that Umunna might be a bit too leftwing, Blair has started seeing him regularly. 'Chuka strikes Tony as very smart,' says one close ally of the former prime minister.'" - Financial Times

As Blair faces censure over Iraq

"The official inquiry into the Iraq war has indicated that it intends to criticise Tony Blair for secretly plotting with George W. Bush for Britain to join the invasion. ... Politicians, civil servants and military officers facing censure will be contacted in the next two weeks." - The Times (£)

"This summer Labour cannot rest," warns Jonathan Freedland, "or it may lose the battle"

"Both sides want 2015 to be a many v few election. Crosby's Tories want to put Labour on the side of the few, defined as foreigners and skivers. Labour wants to put the Tories on the side of the few, defined as millionaires, hedge fund managers and tax-avoiding corporate giants. ... If that is indeed the coming battle, then the Tories are ahead."  Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

> Yesterday, the Deep End's Heresy of the Week: Labour is still on course to win the next general election

"The unions' claim that Westminster no longer represents ordinary people is depressingly true," writes Dominic Sandbrook

Unite"I cannot help feeling a twinge of sympathy for the Unite boss, even though I do not share McCluskey’s far-Left principles. ... A former docker, he knows rather more about the real world than most of his Blairite critics. And when he laments that our politicians have become socially and culturally remote from the ordinary people they claim to represent, I am entirely on his side." - Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Three positive trade union campaigns for Conservatives

News in brief

  • Five prison officers suspended after one of the two Woolwich murder suspects is injured - BBC
  • Concern that Britain's blood stocks will be placed at risk in deal with US private equity firm - Daily Mail
  • Trayvon Martin could have been me, says Obama in speech on race relations - The Guardian

And finally 1)... Cameron at the cricket

Cameron cricket

"The Prime Minister was lucky enough to be able to catch the second day of the Ashes test match - although he refrained from using his privileges to nab the best seats in the ground, and sat among members of the public to watch the game. ... The Prime Minister's relaxed demeanour was a far cry from his Cabinet yesterday, who were sent into a panic yesterday thinking that the royal baby had arrived during their meeting at Chequers. .. But the piece of paper rushed into a meeting yesterday was not an update from the palace but the latest from Lord's." - Daily Mail

  • Cameron heckled by NHS protester as he visits Olympic park - The Guardian

And finally 2)... Cameron wins a gold medal (in Ann Treneman's end-of-term report) (for wild swimming)

Gold"The Prime Minister has admitted to having something quite close to an obsession with swimming in lakes. At the G8 in Northern Ireland, where neckties were banned to highlight the 'chillax' theme, Dave took the dress-down code one step further, stripping off for an early-morning dip in the freezing Lough Erne. His main competitor, Vlad 'the Bad' Putin, he of the six-pack chest, was left waving." - Ann Treneman, The Times (£)

And finally 3)... Boris on the Tube

"Boris Johnson joins David Cameron on the Tube — after admitting he wears clogs to keep cool. ... Boris said: 'I have some very fine London Underground clogs which I wear.'" - The Sun


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