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11 Jul 2013 08:28:56

Newslinks for Thursday 11th July 2013

5.45pm Ben Walker on ThinkTankCentral: "Some 40 per of people who leave Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) will reclaim benefits within six months and 60 per cent will reclaim benefits within two years. Put simply, JCP fails to monitor how many people they are actually helping into work." Is the Jobcentre up to the job?

3.30pm WATCH: Osborne - deficit reduction can be achieved without further tax rises

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 14.53.00
3pm Brooks Newmark MP on Comment: Remembering Srebrenica - and supporting the work of the ICMP

2pm Christopher Howarth on Comment says that the blundering of David Miliband and the maneuvering of the Liberal Democrats has left the Conservatives with a deadly choice. No more co-operation on extradition. Or more powers for the EU.  If we opt back into the European Arrest Warrant, we will cede more authority to the ECJ

11am Andrew Lilico on Comment: When a bank goes bust, should insured deposits be more protected than uninsured deposits?

9.30am Local Government: Hampshire Lib Dem councillor defects to Conservatives

Tory Diary: We, the voters, have chosen taxpayer-subsidised parties and politicians. So we must make the most of it

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 07.46.07Profile: Danny Alexander, by Andrew Gimson: The Coalition pillar who might yet succeed Nick Clegg

Joe Baron on Comment: We must support Gove's reforms and allow me – at last! – to be a real teacher

Local Government's Unite Week continues: Unite Councillors Network championing the far left in our town halls

Majority Conservatism: Paul Uppal MP writes the fourth part in this week's series on broadening the appeal of the Party. The long road to winning support from ethnic minority voters


The Deep End: Young people can’t afford to get on to the housing ladder, but why would they want to and why should we care?

Politics and Money 1) MPs "to receive 12 per cent pay rise"

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 04.43.35"The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is expected to announce that backbench MPs will in future be paid £75,000 and that will then rise automatically every year in line with average earnings. But the pay rise will offset that increase with a crackdown on perks such as meals on expenses and an end to their generous final salary pensions. The regulator, who took over control of MPs’ pay from Parliament in 2010, will argue that, overall, the new package will only cost the taxpayer a few hundred thousand pounds a year more." - The Independent

  • MPs’ free meals perk to be axed - Daily Express
  • Tory wives are in no mood to let their husbands turn down a pay rise - James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

Politics and Money 2) Miliband opens up second front on the Conservatives by threatening outside interests

"Labour candidates at the next election will be barred from holding directorships and consultancies and will be forbidden from earning more than about £10,000 a year above their MP’s salary. Mr Miliband announced the limits on second jobs as part of efforts to turn the tables on David Cameron over who bankrolls political parties and the cost of politics. Both posed as the taxpayers’ champion as they prepared for a public backlash against proposals published today to give MPs an above-inflation pay rise." - The Times (£)

  • GMB says Miliband plan could bankrupt Labour - The Sun
  • Adonis launches Labour review of growth plans - The Guardian
  • Cameron thinks Miliband will be ousted claim - Daily Mail

Politics and Money 3): Miliband opens up third front on the Tories by suggesting a donations caps. Cameron rejects it.

Miliband Ed Green"Cameron rejected the £5,000 cap on donations on the grounds that taxpayers would have to make up the difference in funding. "I don't see why the result of a trade union scandal should be every taxpayer in the country paying for Labour," Cameron said.Tory sources pointed out that the 2011 Kelly review on party funding had suggested that a £10,000 cap on union and individual donations would have meant Tory income falling on average by 76% annually between 2001 and 2010, while Labour would have lost 91% of its income." - The Guardian

Politics and Money 4) PMQs plumbs new depths of shame

"There follows a full transcript of the session. Speaker: “Questions to the Prime Minister.” Hon members: “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!” - Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

  • "What a racket. Sometimes my wife listens to her car stereo at top volume and forgets to alter it back to normal when she switches off the engine. That means that when I climb in the next morning still a bit dozy from my slumbers and turn the key – WHAM – I am suddenly hit in the ears by the late Vladimir Horowitz thumping out Schumann at maximum belt. It was that bad in the Commons yesterday." - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Hague calls Labour MP Cathy Jamieson a "stupid, stupid woman" during PMQs - Daily Express
  • Nigel Dodds thrown out of Commons chamber over parades comment - Belfast Telegraph
  • PMQs wall of noise - Financial Times
  • Tribal tripe - Sun Editorial

Steve Richards: Voters won't pay for state funding

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 08.22.51"The issue that sparked yesterday’s exchanges should alarm both leaders. Voters are disdainful of politics and will not pay for state funding of parties. The current arrangements are the alternative, ones that generate endless rows about the donors of parties. The rows fuel voters’ disillusionment. There is no way around this until voters choose to contemplate the horrendous alternative to party politics and reflect on who they wish to make decisions other than despised elected politicians." - The Independent

  • People have lost interest in party politics - Zoe Williams, The Guardian

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Tory MPs planning to wear BBB - "Bollocked by Bercow" - badges in the Chamber

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 08.25.11
"Those understood to have been approached about joining the revolt include ministers Michael Gove, Simon Burns and Anna Soubry, former minister Tim Loughton and backbenchers Jason McCartney, Simon Kirby and Ian Liddell-Grainger.  MP Sheryll Murray has been asked to make ‘BBB’ badges in time for next week, one of the rebels told the Daily Mail." - Daily Mail

Ministers keep options open on Royal Mail sell-off

"Vince Cable, business secretary, said Royal Mail’s 150,000 UK employees would be eligible for a free 10 per cent stake in the delivery company as he confirmed the government would sell off a majority holding in this financial year. He also said the public would be able to buy shares in a retail offer, available through stockbrokers and direct from the government through a special website. The retail offer will be seen by some as harking back to the glory days of privatisation of the gas, electricity and telecoms industries under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s." - Financial Times

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Royal Mail privatisation gets back on track under Michael Fallon's guiding hand

Universal Credit under pressure

DUNCAN-SMITH-LOOKING-LEFT10"Mr Duncan Smith was grilled by the Work and Pensions Committee yesterday on their progress in implementing the new benefit. They announced that Jobcentres will put new claimants on to Universal Credit from October in six more areas - Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Harrogate, Bath and Shotton. It is currently being tested in two areas, with a further two starting later this month…Mr Duncan Smith told the committee that he “personally disliked” the way payday lenders appeared to target benefit claimants and that further action might be needed to clamp down on the companies." - The Independent

Government ready to declare Trident bases UK territory if Scotland goes independent

"In a move that sparked an angry reaction from the SNP, which vowed to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons as quickly as possible after a yes vote, the government is looking at ensuring that the Faslane base on Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute could have the same status as the British sovereign military bases in Cyprus. The move would be designed to ensure that the Trident fleet would continue to have access to the open seas via the Firth of Clyde. Under Britain's "continuous at sea deterrent", at least one Vanguard submarine armed with 16 Trident nuclear missiles is on patrol at sea at any one time." - The Guardian

Cuts at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are terror risk, says Rifkind...

RIFKIND"The committee, led by ex-Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, said: “The agencies have said they are ‘fairly confident’ that operational capabilities will be protected. The Committee does not share that confidence.” George Osborne announced a 3 per cent hike for spooks in 2015. But the new budget is still only a fraction of the 12 per cent overall cut to the agencies’ joint finances since 2011. Syrian extremists represent “the most worrying terrorist threat” to the UK, the ISC revealed." - The Sun

…And Nicholson warns of NHS funding gap

"A £30bn funding gap will open up in the NHS over the next seven years without “radical” changes, including more centralisation of hospital services, the chief executive of NHS England has warned. The feared gap – equivalent to almost a third of today’s NHS budget, and the annual running cost of about 75 hospitals – is the product of NHS England’s assumption that while the NHS budget will increase only about 2 per cent each year, the demands on the health service and its costs will increase by nearer 6.5 per cent a year."
 - Financial Times

  • Bronglais Hospital patients told: Bring your own pillows - Wales Online
  • No cure to spending paradox - Matt Ridley, The Times (£)

Barker announces local right to veto solar farms

BARKER-GREG-PORTRAIT"After promising to empower local communities to oppose onshore wind farms, a minister announced last night that sprawling fields of solar panels will also be curbed because they are ‘increasingly controversial’. Energy minister Greg Barker said: ‘Solar has a big bright future in the UK, but not in any place and not at any price. I want UK solar targeted on industrial roofs, homes and on brownfield sites, not on our beautiful countryside." - Daily Mail

MPs press BBC to name 150 managers given big payoffs

"Steve Barclay, a Conservative member of the committee, responded that it was investigating misuse of public money by the BBC and was not an issue involving the corporation’s editorial independence. Speaking afterwards, Mr Barclay said: “Lord Patten’s reaction suggested . . . a priority to protect the privacy of overpaid BBC bosses rather than looking after the interests of licence fee payers.” The former BBC boss Mark Thompson was effectively accused of misleading the BBC Trust over the million-pound severance package paid to his deputy." - The Times (£)

"Just one in ten quangos has been abolished"

"Despite the Government’s attempts to reduce the size of the state, over the past three years new quangos have been created almost as fast as old ones were being shut down. The findings undermine the Coalition’s election pledge to shut down unnecessary public bodies. Out of around 900 quangos, just 199 are classified as being ‘no longer a public body’." - Daily Mail

  • It’s not the thin end of the wedge, Sir Humphrey - Hayden Phillips, The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Number of EU immigrants to Britain during Labour years 'was underestimated by half a million' - Daily Mail
  • Obama donors get top embassy jobs - The Guardian
  • Ministerial veto over FOI letters is 'troublesome' and 'constitutional aberration', says Lord Chief Justice - Daily Telegraph
  • Firms say economic recovery has begun in Scotland - Scotsman
  • 100 foot tyre piles are stacked in Belfast for the 12th - Daily Mail
  • House prices rise by £2000 a month - Daily Express
  • Qatada's cell - The Sun
  • Cricket: Australia fight back - The Independent
  • Families face debt timebomb - The Times (£)
  • One in three houses belong to pensioners as younger generations are frozen out of market - 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.

10 Jul 2013 08:30:17

Newslinks for Wednesday 10th July 2013

4pm WATCH: Dominic Raab MP and Jack Straw MP discuss prisoner voting

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 15.55.40
3.45pm ToryDiary: At long last, Cameron is considering an appeal to aggrieved English voters

2.45pm Andrew Gimson's PMQs sketch on ToryDiary: If the noise at Prime Minister's Questions continues at its present deafening level, Cameron and Miliband will soon be unable to hear anything, and be reduced to communicating with each other in sign language. Or perhaps they have already gone deaf, which is why each man ignores what the other has to say. David Cameron reinvents himself at PMQs as the most brutal street fighter in the Commons 

11.15am LeftWatch: Strong Miliband, taking on the unions? Or Weak Miliband, incapable of doing so? Which will it be?

Maude Smiling9.30am As he launches his latest reform initative, Francis Maude MP writes on Comment: "Transparency, self-criticism and openness are difficult territory for both Ministers and civil servants. But we need to stay outside of the comfort zone. The assessment of our reform programme pulls no punches." Fixed-tenure Permanent Secretaries - and much more. Our next steps in civil service reform.

ToryDiary: Royal Mail privatisation gets back on track under Michael Fallon's guiding hand

Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Farage shies away from Northern Ireland pact

In Greg Clark MP's weekly Letter from a Treasury Minister, he writes the third part in this week's series on broadening the appeal of the Party: The key to a Conservative revival lies in our cities

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 07.41.50
On Comment, Adam Afriyie MP recommends this September's Conservative Renewal Conference: Let’s help to transform the Conservative Party with renewal

Also on Comment: George Freeman MP: London Calling - How Britain must now lead the campaign for European reform

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.34.35The third post in Local Government's Unite Week: Introducing Cllr Lisa Forbes, Labour's - sorry Unite's - candidate for Peterborough

The Deep End: The long-running left-wing love affair with tyranny 

ECHR murderers release ruling sparks inferno on Tory benches...

“The Strasbourg court stoked a furious response in London by ruling that the UK’s system, in which the most heinous killers are told that they have no chance of release, breaches their human rights. David Cameron’s spokesman said that the Prime Minister was ‘very, very, very, very disappointed’ and that he would not rule out withdrawing from the court if the Conservatives won the next general election” – The Times (£)

...Grayling: Labour and the Liberal Democrats are blocking us from curtailing the court

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 07.51.46"Yesterday’s ruling underlines the need for urgent change. We need to curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights in the UK...But Labour and the Lib Dems will have none of it. They want things to stay as they are. This is mad. I don’t understand them. But they have more votes in Parliament and have said a clear ‘no’ to change." - Chris Grayling, Daily Mail

  • The 49 monsters given hope of freedom – Daily Mail



  • Strasbourg’s judges yet again abuse their powers – Martin Howe, The Times (£)
  • In some cases, life should mean life - John Rentoul, The Independent
  • It’s vital we stay angry about human rights lunacy – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Meanwhile Jacob Rees-Mogg points out that opting in to EU criminal justice laws would break the coalition agreement...

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.27.04“When this is done the Government will need to make a very strong case for the essential nature both for the specific measure and for the means. This is because any opt-in arguably breaks the Coalition Agreement. This document promises that the Government ‘will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament’” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: George Freeman MP - London Calling - How Britain must now lead the campaign for European reform

> Yesterday:

...and a former German Chancellor sets out to evade European regulations

“Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has a stash of 38,000 menthol cigarettes in his home, because he fears the EU will try to ban them. Lifelong nicotene addict Mr Schmidt, 94, puffs away on 40 a day and never appears on TV or in public without a filter tip in his hand or mouth. Friends say he was 'horrified'  to learn that Brussels is currently considering a ban on his only vice. So he has stashed 200 cartons totalling 38,000 cigarettes of his favourite brand - Reyno - in his home. Peer Steinbrueck, his old SPD party's candidate standing against Angela Merkel in this autumn's German general election, revealed his secret in a bid to derail the 'unbearable regulation frenzy' going on in Brussels” – Daily Mail

English MPs are set to gain a sweeping new power of veto 

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.27.53
“English MPs are to be given the power to ‘veto’ Westminster laws that do not relate to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, as part of sweeping constitutional reforms being drawn up by ministers. Under proposals currently being finalised and expected to be announced in the autumn, English MPs would be able to reject legislation on devolved issues such as education, the NHS, transport and the environment, even if it had been passed by a majority of all MPs in the House of Commons.” - Independent

Miliband prepared to ballot Labour member on his union plans

“Ed Miliband is prepared to go over the heads of union bosses with a party-wide ballot if they try to block moves supposed to weaken their hold over Labour before the election. But his hopes of provoking a defining clash with the organisation that he accused of ‘machine politics’ were set back yesterday when Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, welcomed changes that curb his influence. It also emerged that the former Labour general secretary Lord Whitty, Mr Miliband’s choice to force through reforms aimed at staving off the worst crisis of his three years in charge, had turned down the job on the ground that the plans were ‘unworkable’” – The Times (£)

The Labour leader’s plans receive an editorial welcome from the Times…

Miliband Ed Official“Mr Miliband should be congratulated and his speech welcomed. It has always been anomalous that trade union members should have been assumed to be happy about paying a political levy until they made a decision to opt out. This was once the cause of an acrimonious political fight that resulted in the Trades Disputes Act of 1927, requiring trade unionists to opt in to membership, which Labour then repealed in office. Mr Miliband yesterday allied himself with Stanley Baldwin against his own party” – Times Editoral (£)

…but the Telegraph thinks he has picked the wrong fight

“If Ed Miliband thought that picking a fight with the unions would rebrand him as a strong leader, he has made a serious tactical error… He yearns for a Clause IV moment – a clash with the Labour Left that will leave him looking like the kind of centrist, bold leader that he thinks voters want. What he has actually done, however, is to cement popular impressions of Labour as out of touch and out of date. The coming battle could prove bitter and unseemly.” – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Janan Ganesh says that Miliband must renounce more than Unite’s tactics

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.46.29“Mr Miliband’s showdown with Mr McCluskey is stuck in micro-politics: the exact forms of skulduggery deployed in Falkirk, the mooted tweaks to party rules, the arcane theology of the union link. The bigger story is Labour’s migration to the left, a phenomenon that transcends Mr Miliband and Unite. The composition of the party has changed in recent years. There has been an exodus of the Labour right” – Financial Times

  • I've acted on Party funding and now Cameron should too - Ed Miliband, Daily Mirror
  • Miliband’s union battle could destroy him – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • Give the unions more power. More power! More!  – Seumas Milne, Guardian
  • We need a directly-elected Prime Minister - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)


  • MILIBAND DAVID red tie"Vehemently he spoke about the sort of MP who has a second or even third job...The public, he fumed, “expect MPs to be representing them, not anyone else… Being an MP should not be a sideline…” Calm down, Ed. David quit the Commons for New York months ago." - Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • "The Labour leader has, amazingly, morphed into Tony Blair. He is channelling Blair. He has become a clone, an avatar. He even has the Blair teeth, like the display shelf in an undertaker's showroom." - Simon Hoggart, The Guardian
  • " ‘We’re gonna take acshun and seethe the moment,’ he thundered. At this, he half-clenched his left fist. It was the moderate gesture of a bourgeois revolutionary, someone who had been told to appear angry rather than a visionary genuinely gripped by outrage." - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

> Today: Local Government - Introducing Cllr Lisa Forbes, Labour's - sorry Unite's - candidate for Peterborough

> Yesterday:

Fallon: Royal Mail flotation will give it the freedom to thrive

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.32.13“Half of Royal Mail’s revenues already come from parcels, and last year its parcel volumes increased by more than 6 per cent. But it needs access to private capital to adapt to new technology and to exploit new markets. That’s why the Government intends in this financial year to give Royal Mail access to private investment through a sale of shares.Claims that this is a rushed process are ridiculous” – Michael Fallon, Daily Telegraph

  • UK business department must live up to its name - Chuka Umunna and Andrew Adonis, Financial Times

> Today: ToryDiary - Royal Mail privatisation gets back on track under Michael Fallon's guiding hand

IMF revises its UK growth forecast upwards

“Signs that the UK’s economic recovery is gathering pace were endorsed by the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday when it raised its growth prediction for 2013. The IMF on Tuesday became the latest forecaster to take a more bullish stance on the British economy, using an update of its World Economic Outlook to raise its expectations for growth this year to 0.9 per cent, up from its April estimate of 0.7 per cent” – Financial Times

  • How the IMF got it wrong on the eurozone crisis – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • NHS spending has risen every year since coalition was formed – Daily Mail
  • CBI demands rethink on cost of HS2 – Daily Mail
  • Danny Alexander defends “transformational” HS2 – Daily Telegraph
  • Boris bikes cost the taxpayer £11m a year to keep on road – The Times (£)

MPs to question Murdoch over phone-hacking tapes

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 08.33.20“Rupert Murdoch faces being drawn personally into police investigations on the ‘cash for stories’ scandal that threatens to engulf his media empire. Detectives are preparing to examine secretly recorded conversations in which he suggests to journalists he knew about payments to public officials. Senior officers suspect that the recording ‘may contain evidence of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office’.” – Daily Mail

  • Met commissioner apologises to Andrew Mitchell over Plebgate briefings – Daily Mail

Time to fight this tidal wave of filth

“Not by the wildest stretch of imagination could Liz Earle be considered a fuddy-duddy... So hers is exactly the sort of voice we need to hear when she says that she took her family away from London to live in the country because she was fed up with the sexual content of advertising and wanted to protect her then eight-year-old.
She says that every time we take a step into the gutter we fail to come out again and that we have lost all notion of what is acceptable. 

Hear! Hear! Liz Earle for PM!” – Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

News in brief

  • The public is wrong about nearly everything - The Independent
  • UK plummets down defence spending league table - The Sun
  • G4S faces damages claim over killing of Jimmy Mubenga - Guardian
  • Egypt’s interim presidency appoints PM and vice-president - Guardian
  • Edward Snowden “has not yet accepted” asylum in Venezuela – Daily Mail
  • Senior civil servants could lose their jobs every five years - Financial Times
  • Footballer John Terry’s father charged with racist attack – Daily Telegraph
  • UK climber becomes first blind man to conquer 3000ft rock – Daily Telegraph
  • Nerves jangle as Ashes battle begins - The Times (£)
  • Heatwave to continue for at least another week – Daily Express

And finally, a statesman needs to be careful which shades he wears…

“There was a reason that David Cameron took his mother to Wimbledon instead of his wife, and that reason was his sunglasses…The sunglasses — or perhaps a better word is ‘shades’, since mid-Nineties eyewear deserves a mid-Nineties descriptor — struck a bum note in Cameron’s otherwise smart attire. Thin, black and wraparound, they came from the same lineage as those other Nineties stalwarts, Oakleys.” – Laura Craik, The 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.

9 Jul 2013 08:38:35

Newslinks for Tuesday 9th July 2013

6.30pm LeftWatch: Labour grandee Lord Whitty rejected a role in Miliband's "unworkable" trade union reforms

UKIP_mag 33.45pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: What will and won't appeal to UKIPpers

3pm ToryDiary: In the light of the decision, Downing Street's charm offensive, capped with a barbecue at Number 10 recently, was described to me as "offensive and patronising". Summer of Tory love soured by European Arrest Warrant stance

1.45pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband's union speech - the main points and the key questions

Four pieces on parties and democracy lead ConservativeHome today:

1) ToryDiary: At root, Miliband's Party problem is our problem too

2) In the second piece in this week's series on Majority Conservatism, Gavin Barwell MP presents a long-term plan to modernise the Party on the ground: "Organisational strength matters.  We can’t afford to ignore the decline in our organisation any longer.  Alongside the strategy Lynton Crosby is developing to win the next Election, we need to think about a long-term plan to rebuild our Party."

Ed Miliband Wordle

3) LeftWatch: Leaked documents show the scale of Miliband's union problem - but how might he solve it?

4) The second post in Local Government's Unite Week reports on Cllr West, Unite's choice for Hornsey

Also on Local Government: John Bald - The National Curriculum is ambitious for our children - good

Egypt FlagGarvan Walshe's Foreign Policy column: Fear and Loathing on Cairo’s Bloody Monday

Andrea Leadsom MP continues her series of articles about European Reform on Comment: The EU - we need reform and better regulation

The Deep End: "The need to live within our means is shaping a new political dynamic. On one issue after another, realists will line up against romantics. Conservatives will need to make a choice – not between realism and romanticism – because, with some grumbling, we’ll opt for reality. Rather, what we need to decide is how we go about shrinking the state."Austerity is real and is changing this country forever

Miliband set to announce trade union reforms...

Red Ed"Ed Miliband will today take one of the biggest gambles of his political career by placing at risk £9million of annual union funding to his party. The Labour leader, who is under intense pressure over his links to union paymasters, wants to tear up rules on their political levy. In what is billed as the most significant reform of his party for a generation, he will say union members will have to ‘opt in’ to hand over an annual £3 donation to Labour, which they currently pay automatically." - Daily Mail 

>Today: ToryDiary - At root, Miliband's Party problem is our problem too

>Yesterday: Local Government - Labour councillors forced to be union members

…but McCluskey rejects the key change to an opt-in system

"Let's learn lessons from the failed schemes of the past, and find proposals that engage ordinary people and have transparent integrity. Switching to an "opt-in" for the political levy wouldn't work – it would require Labour to unite with the Tories to change the law, would debilitate unions' ability to speak for our members and would further undermine unions' status as voluntary, and self-governing, organisations." - Len McCluskey, The Guardian

>Today: LeftWatch - Leaked documents show the scale of Miliband's union problem - but how might he solve it?

May: Qatada is gone…now let's look at the ECHR

Theresa May"Mrs May reserved her fiercest criticism for the European Court of Human Rights, which she accused of ‘moving the goalposts’. ‘We must also consider our relationship with the European Court very carefully, and I believe that all options – including withdrawing from the Convention altogether – should remain on the table,’ she said. Mrs May had been criticised by some Conservative MPs for deferring to European Court judgments. Yesterday she affirmed she had been right to do so, but acknowledged Qatada would have been deported ‘long ago’ had the court not established ‘new, unprecedented legal grounds’ to block it." - Daily Mail

  • Terror suspects face benefits cuts - The Sun
  • Congratulations to Theresa May - FT Leader (£) 
  • European arrest warrant up for reform - The Guardian

>Yesterday: Tory Diary - "What do they do all day?" Theresa May's struggle to make the Home Office fit for purpose

Maude unveils civil service reform plans - amid opposition from mandarins

"Francis Maude will today present his proposals to Cabinet for a radical shake-up of the Civil Service to speed up policy delivery and turn round failing projects. These will include allowing ministers to hand-pick up to 15 staff for their private offices, marking a significant step towards politicising the Civil Service. Mr Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, will also propose that permanent secretaries are put on fixed-term contracts for four or five years, and would be chosen by either ministers or the Prime Minister." - The Times (£)

New press watchdog launched by industry

"The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) will have the power to impose fines of up to £1million for systemic wrongdoing and require editors to publish upfront corrections ‘whether editors like it or not’. Culture Secretary Maria Miller yesterday said she was ‘glad’ that progress is being made following months in which talks on Press regulation have stalled." - Daily Mail

Andrew Tyrie says Osborne's bank reforms "fall short"

Osborne"Today, MPs will vote on earlier commission proposals to ensure taxpayers do not have to rescue banks. These include forcing them to separate – or ‘ringfence’ – casino banking from high street lending.  But last night Mr Tyrie accused the Government of trying to water down this key reform by tweaking the Banking Reform Bill.  The Government says the Bank of England should have to consult the Treasury on five occasions before it can split up a bank.  Mr Tyrie said: ‘The amendment . . . renders this power so weak as to be virtually useless.’" - Daily Mail

Royal Mail privatisation takes a step closer

"Vince Cable, the business secretary, will make a statement to the House of Commons formally kickstarting the sale of the 497-year-old postal service. Cable's statement – which is expected on Wednesday but could be delayed until next week – will set out details of the sale, expected to come via a £2-3bn flotation on the London Stock Exchange this autumn. The statement will set out the terms under which 10% of the shares will be granted to postal workers. The public will also be encouraged to buy shares." - The Guardian 

A mansion tax? No, no, no

"Given the long list of objections, it’s impossible not to conclude that this tax is little more than a political gesture, uniting two left-leaning parties because of the bash-the-rich populism underlying it. But all taxes start this way. Taxes on the few inevitably become taxes on the many, given governments’ insatiable appetite for spending. Ultimately we must remember that our current fiscal problems stem not from taxing too little, but spending too much." - Ryan Bourne, The Times (£) 

Police should be more polite - Damian Green

Police"In a speech to the Reform think tank on Monday, Mr Green said officers should learn that friendliness builds relationships with communities, as seen during last year's London Olympics. He said that "public faith in policing" had been "undermined" by recent revelations about the police spying on the family and friends of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence and the use of dead babies' identities to provide undercover false names.He said: “The public reaction to the friendliness and openness of police at the Olympic Games shows how important relationship-building can be."" - Daily Telegraph

  • A quarter of stop and searches are illegal - Daily Mail 

The EU is tired of negative coverage…so it's launching its own Pravda

"Bids are being sought for an “online media on EU affairs” that will offer “quality journalism” to remedy what the Commission calls inadequate and shallow reporting by conventional media. The scheme, in at least ten languages, sparked anger and disbelief last night. API, the Brussels press corps association, said that it was a “breach of the principle of freedom of the press”. Richard Ashworth, the leader of Britain’s Conservative MEPs, branded it “Brussels Pravda”." - The Times (£) 

SNP preach hatred against their fellow Scots

"Andy Murray has been cagey on independence, only saying so far that Scots should think about the economics. No wonder. Sir Chris Hoy spoke out against independence on Radio 5, albeit from a sport-funding perspective. “Chris Hoy called a traitor to Scotland by nationalists,” read one newspaper headline afterwards." - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: WATCH - Anyone for tennis? Andy Murray drops into Downing Street

News in brief

  • Anne Widdecombe rejects the idea of sexism in politics - Daily Telegraph
  • Poll points to UKIP policy appeal - Daily Telegraph
  • Green Deal firm fined for nuisance calls - Daily Mail 
  • Balls, Miliband and Stephanie Flanders, an unusual dating story - The Independent
  • Future of offshore wind power in doubt - The Guardian
  • MPs exempt raccoons and reindeers from circus animal ban - The Independent
  • Robert Halfon catches the eye in a tangerine suit - BBC News 

And finally…

  • Murray wins, the sun shines and it's ta-ta Qatada: 50 reasons to be cheerful this summer - The Sun 


> 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.

8 Jul 2013 08:30:28

Newslinks for Monday 8th July 2013

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 18.25.41
6.45pm WATCH: Anyone for tennis? Andy Murray drops into Downing Street

5.15pm Richard Wyn Jones on ThinkTankCentral: If our political class continues to ignore the English Question, UKIP could prosper

5pm Local Government: Labour councillors forced to be union members

Elephant4pm Andrew Bridgen MP on Comment: Could Labour shoot the Government's fox - or rather, its white elephant: HS2?

1.15pm Tim Knox of the Centre for Policy Studies on ThinkTankCentral: "The increase in capacity would also be a significant boost to economic growth in the UK which at the moment is being held back by the shortage of airport capacity in the South East (Heathrow itself is operating at 99 per cent capacity)." How to double up on Heathrow - without a penny of public money.

1pm WATCH:  Cameron on Andy Murray and a knighthood - "I can't think of anyone who deserves one more."

11.15am Local Government: Council by-election results from Thursday

11am ToryDiary: Just when Cameron thought it was safe to get back into the water...

Tory Diary: "What do they do all day?" Theresa May's struggle to make the Home Office fit for purpose

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 08.15.07It's Unite Week on Local Government: Unite union official chosen as Labour candidate for Deptford

Columnist Jesse Norman: This extraordinary fortnight has marked a sea-change in British politics

Laura Perrins on Comment: The war against marriage is a war against social mobility and social justice

David Skelton unveils his new campaign on Majority Conservatism: Now is the time to set out how to win more support outside our south-eastern heartland

The Deep End: From one side of the world to the other, the middle class is revolting

It's Golden Monday: Murray wins...

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 08.23.26
"When Murray finally clinched the set 7-5, the Prime Minister was on his feet faster than the man behind him, Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond…On he fought, pulling back from 2-4 down to 5-4 up. Three championship points came and went. By the fourth, David Cameron had one arm clasping the other, as if checking his own blood pressure." - Daily Mail

  • The politics of Murray's victory - Financial Times
  • Salmond raises giant Saltire behind David Cameron's head in Royal Box on Centre Court - Daily Mail
  • "An A-List roster of carpetbagging VIPs" - The Guardian
  • We are the champions: Britain basks in a golden age of sport - The Independent
  • Spirit of the Olympics revived - Daily Telegraph
  • The economics and culture of Murray's win - Allister Heath, City A.M
  • Champion almost forgets his mother - The Times (£)
  • The temperature soared to 122F - Daily Mail
  • Kim Sears is Queen of the Court - The Sun
  • And finally...Did the magic power of seven kill off the Curse of Cameron? Murray's win came on 7/7, 77 years after Fred Perry (and he broke Djokovic's serve in seventh game of each set) - Daily Mail

...and May triumphs

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 08.01.31
"The Home Secretary, who led the efforts to deport Qatada, told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show the Immigration Bill due later this year would include limits on appeals, as well as dealing with issues like migrant welfare rights. It could also include measures to stop people using their ECHR right to a family life to block deportation proceedings. Mrs May added that “banning orders” against extremist groups would be considered, as well as a broadcasting ban." - Daily Express

  • Tories to fight next election on wholesale human rights reform, says Chris Grayling - Daily Telegraph
  • Qatada applies for bail in Jordan - The Times (£)

Cameron: Our human rights laws need reform

Cameron1"This man was radicalising people in our country. He was a threat to national security and he had no right to be here. We said we would get him out. And we have. We cannot have a system that takes so long to deport someone who is a threat to our country. We have a proud tradition of human rights. But years of wrangling in the name of human rights must not provide an excuse for allowing security to be compromised. I will do whatever is necessary to stop it happening again." - The Sun

  • May wins plaudits - The Guardian
  • Home Secretary should enjoy her good luck while it lasts - Andy Grice, The Independent
  • The Home Secretary is a force to be reckoned with - Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express


May's EU Justice Plan. Opt out of over 130 powers. Opt back into 30 of them. And stay in the European Arrest Warrant

"Tory MPs will be pleased that Britain is exercising a one-off chance in 2014 – allowed by the EU’s Lisbon treaty – to pull out of a block of 133 EU justice measures, in the first stage of what they hope is a wider renegotiation of powers.  But they will be less pleased that the government will then immediately try to opt back in to about 30 of those measures it feels are vital to national security – including the European arrest warrant." - Financial Times

  • Damian Green expected to tell chief constables to investigate amid Stephen Lawrence family smear allegations - The Guardian
  • Labour to call for tougher scrutiny of intelligence and security services - The Guardian

> Today: Tory Diary - "What do they do all day?" Theresa May's struggle to make the Home Office fit for purpose

> Yesterday:

Poll of polls: Labour's lead down

Miliband Red"The Independent’s weighted average of the June polls by ComRes, ICM, Ipsos MORI and YouGov confirms that Labour’s lead has narrowed after Tory attacks over the economy, welfare and Europe. Labour is on 37 per cent, the Tories 31 per cent, the UK Independence Party 13 per cent, the Liberal Democrats 11 per cent and others eight per cent. Although that would still give Labour an overall majority at a general election, many Labour MPs believe the party needs a bigger cushion." - The Independent

  • One in five Tory members "seriously considering" voting UKIP - James Lansdale, BBC

Miliband thrashes around for ideas to ease Unite crisis

"Open selection primaries, direct access to trade union levy payers by the party, and caps on spending by candidates seeking Labour nominations. These are among the changes Ed Miliband is considering in an attempt to mend, rather than end, the union-party link following alleged malpractice by the Unite union. Miliband will be canvassing party opinion before a speech this week setting out how the relationship can be reformed following alleged abuse of party rules by Unite supporters in Falkirk." - The Guardian

  • Union battles could send us into oblivion says Lord Reid - The Sun
  • Who wants a PM who has no fight in him? - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • Falkirk has revealed the rotten state of all our political parties - John Harris, The Guardian

> Today: Local Government - Unite union official chosen as Labour candidate for Deptford

> Yesterday: Nick de Bois MP on Comment - Why shouldn't union members choose who gets their political levy?

Tyrie plans to be backed by Osborne

Osborne April 2012"The chancellor will endorse the overwhelming majority of the panel’s proposals – including introducing criminal penalties for “reckless” bankers and tighter control of pay and bonuses – in his formal response to its 571-page report. Mr Osborne will echo the view of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, chaired by Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, which said high standards in banking “should not be a substitute for global success – on the contrary, they can be a stimulus to it”." - Financial Times

Gove unveils new national curriculum

"Five-year-olds will have to learn fractions in a return to rigour that will see traditional science subjects brought back into the classroom. A new national curriculum unveiled today will also see nine-year-olds having to learn the 12-times table, a tougher regime than today’s expectation that pupils aged 11 only have to know up to their ten-times table." - Daily Mail

David Gauke: The cost of a mansion tax

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 08.34.18"A Tory minister quietly disclosed that the Treasury had been carrying out research on the mansion tax last week. The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said “the finest minds in the Treasury” had calculated that 55,000 homes in Britain breached the £2 million threshold. Both Labour and the Lib Dems had suggested the figure could be about 70,000. Last night, Lib Dem sources welcomed the indication that the Treasury was taking the policy seriously. However, they said it was not yet possible to come up with a reliable figure for the number of houses affected." - The Times (£)

Pickles offers vouchers for ideas that save money

"Whitehall workers will be given shopping vouchers for thinking up ‘innovative, thrifty’ ideas to cut costs. The move will be used by Eric Pickles for staff in his Department for Communities and Local Government. Mr Pickles said: ‘I want to hear from the bright sparks in the Department who, in the years of spend, spend spend, may have felt that their ideas to save, save, save fell on deaf ears." - Daily Mail

Boris: Why on earth will HS2 cost so much?

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 08.35.24"It is obvious that both London and other cities would benefit from better and faster connections. The problem, as Peter Mandelson has indicated, is cost. This thing isn’t going to cost £42 billion, my friends. The real cost is going to be way north of that (keep going till you reach £70 billion, and then keep going). That is why the Treasury is starting to panic, and the word around the campfire is that Lord Mandelson is actually doing the bidding of some fainthearts in Whitehall who want to stop it now – not the first or second Lords of the Treasury, clearly, but the bean-counters." - Daily Telegraph

  • Lidington attacks HS2 - Daily Mail
  • Boris the new Disraeli? Pull the other one! - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

MPs to lose resettlement grants

"Golden goodbyes as big as £33,000 for MPs who quit or get booted out by voters will be axed as part of the review of politicians’ pay. They also face losing their bumper final salary pensions in the shake-up to be announced on Thursday. But the changes would see them given a rise of up to £10,000 a year. So-called “resettlement grants” can be worth up to £33,000 for an MP leaving the Commons. But Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority boss Sir Ian Kennedy said the system was “a reminder of the old, cushioned world of privilege”." - The Sun

News in Brief

  • Egypt clashes continue amid faltering efforts to forge new government - The Guardian
  • Five dead, 40 missing at Canadian train blast site - The Independent
  • The drive for Scottish independence is turning the English more Euro-sceptic - The Times (£)
  • Free trade talks could boost the economy - Daily Telegraph
  • Farage takes UKIP message to Belfast - Financial Times
  • Man held after Archbishops witness fight at York Minster - Daily Express
  • Nigella holed up after Saatchi divorce statement - The Sun
  • Millions cool off in 86F heatwave - 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.

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