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Newslinks for Tuesday 20th August 2013

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 17.45.116pm Joe Armitage on Comment: It's time to nationalise exam marking

5.30pm WATCH David Miranda to sue Government over detention

4.30pm ToryDiary: "I’ve referred to Halfon’s work many times on ConservativeHome, including in this article – and I make no apologies for doing so. It’s a demonstration that working with the unions, rather than just politicking at their expense, can have an appreciable effect. And that’s a point that bears repeating." CCHQ should ask a simple question about Robert Halfon’s popularity among trade unionists in Harlow – how?

Noon ToryDiary: Let’s look ahead to the Autumn Statement – it could be the first of a new breed

ToryDiary: Where's the ambition? And what's the plan?

Ed Staite on Comment: As the summer draws nearer its end, it's time for MPs to sharpen their stump speeches

LBDAlso on Comment, Louise Burfitt-Dons says that a return to family values could win the Tories ethnic votes"The message that going out to work pays is a good one. But now is the time to reflect on home issues that also contribute to standing on your own two feet. Traditional parents deserve policies which empower them, but which reward their sacrifice and commitment at the same time."

Local Government: Using Zipcars is saving Croydon Council £756,000 a year

The Deep End: How the police could turn themselves into human CCTV cameras

Cameron warned that he will face a coup if he tries to force another Coalition on Tory MPs


"Mr Cameron is said to be prepared to offer Tory MPs a vote on any future coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats to bind them into a decision to go for a new pact, just as Nick Clegg did with his MPs in 2010. ... But Conservative MPs yesterday said that the party ‘will not swallow another coalition’ and demanded that party members, as well as MPs, are given power of veto. ... They privately warned that Mr Cameron’s critics could seek to oust him if he tries to team up with Mr Clegg again." - Daily Mail

"A panel of five senior Tory MPs, including two standard-bearers of the Right, is being lined up to vet the details of any second coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats after the 2015 general election." - The Times (£)

  • "Political parties must be transparent about their strategy for any hung Parliament" - Times Editorial (£)
  • "Don't settle for yet another coalition" - Daily Mail Editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: Where's the ambition? And what's the plan?

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Any proposal for a second Coalition should be put to all Party members – not just MPs

And Clegg faces demands about the nature of any future Coalition, too

"Liberal Democrats should be formally consulted before British troops are sent to war as part of any future coalition agreement, one of the party’s MPs has said." - The Times (£)

"Nick Clegg is being told he would struggle to win support within his party for a fresh coalition with the Conservatives..." - Independent

As the current Coalition argues over a report into wind farms

Wind turbine"The newspaper has learnt that a new Government row over wind farms is blocking a report that could provide official confirmation that the controversial turbines can harm rural areas. ... Sources have said that the Department of Energy and Climate Change — run by Ed Davey — wants to stop Owen Paterson publishing a major report that he has commissioned on renewable energy and the rural economy." - Daily Telegaph

David Miranda's detention at Heathrow: Home Office and Met asked to explain themselves

"Britain's anti-terrorist legislation watchdog has called on the Home Office and Metropolitan police to explain why anti-terror laws were used to detain the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald for nine hours at Heathrow airport. ... Amid mounting concern across the political spectrum over the treatment of David Miranda, David Anderson QC said the detention of Greenwald's partner on Sunday appeared to be 'unusual'." - The Guardian

Further reports:

  • "They said I would be put in jail if I didn't co-operate." David Miranda interviewed - The Guardian
  • Labour demands review of anti-terror powers - The Guardian
  • White House was given "heads-up" over David Miranda detention in UK - The Guardian

And comment:

  • AR"As the events in a Heathrow transit lounge – and the Guardian offices – have shown, the threat to journalism is real and growing" - Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian
  • "This incident is also a reminder that UK anti-terror laws are too sweeping. Under the 2000 Act, Britain’s police can detain any individual, even if they have no prior suspicion of terrorist activity by that person. This is nothing less than a draconian piece of legislation." - Financial Times editorial

> Yesterday, by Nick Pickles on Comment: David Miranda's arrest shows why our anti-terror laws need a comprehensive overhaul

Brussels to help negotiate a Gibraltar settlement, as Britain considers legal action

"On the day that British naval ships pulled into the territory, the Spanish government and European Commission agreed that an EU mission should help negotiate a settlement between the two countries. ... Downing Street said: 'We are actively considering legal action.'" - Financial Times

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: HMS Westminster docks in Gibraltar

No.10 faces pressure to rethink its Draft Bill for reforming lobbying rules

"MPs and industry experts said the proposals have huge loopholes, including only requiring inclusion on a register for firms whose main activity is lobbying. ... But David Cameron’s official spokesman said that the government had consulted ‘widely’ and ‘carefully considered the committee’s report’ into how to tackle secretive lobbying. ... He added that ‘we don’t believe that we need further pre-legislative scrutiny’." - Daily Mail

  • "The planned register of lobbyists is too narrow" - Independent editorial

Hague warns that Egypt's turmoil could last decades

Flag 2"William Hague has warned that the turmoil in Egypt could continue for ‘decades’ as it emerged that the former dictator Hosni Mubarak is soon to be freed. ... Mr Hague told the BBC yesterday: ‘What’s happening now in the Middle East is the most important event so far of the 21st century, even compared to the financial crisis we’ve been through in terms of its impact on world affairs and I think it will take years and maybe decades for it to play out.’" - Daily Mail

  • "Stability, not an election, is what Egypt needs now" - Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
  • "Algeria's civil war is a dreadful precedent for Egypt" - David Blair, Daily Telegraph
  • "Europe and the US have failed to craft a coherent response to Egypt’s crisis so far, but failure is not an option in Sinai" - Times editorial (£)
  • "Egypt’s plight worsens by the day. But the rest of the world can still help" - Independent editorial

Damian Green announces that the age limit for jury service will be lifted to 75

DG"Under existing rules, 69 is the age limit for a juror but the Government intends to change the law to include those aged 70 to 75. ... Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said the shift would enable the criminal justice system to benefit from the knowledge and ‘life experiences’ of older people." - Daily Mail

  • "Why the age limit on jurors should be raised to 75" - Damian Green, Daily Telegraph

Ministers to investigate claims that schools are operating as though Section 28 never went away

"Ministers have ordered an immediate investigation into evidence suggesting dozens of schools and academies have been enforcing the rule – known as Section 28 – ten years after it was abolished. ... According to research by the British Humanist Association, at least 44 schools and academy groups in England have sex and relationship education policies that either echo the controversial clause or appear not to be aware that it had been repealed." - Daily Mail

  • "Section 28 hurt the Tories more than young gay people" - Andy McSmith, Independent

Builders face curbs on the construction of "rabbit hutch" homes, under terms of new Government consultation

RABbit"Housebuilders would be forced to construct homes with larger rooms under proposals to curb the proliferation of 'rabbit-hutch' estates. ... Don Foster, communities minister, will on Tuesday launch the space consultation, which will also promise to slash red tape for housebuilders." - Financial Times

  • "Help to Buy is a dangerous political placebo" - Dominic Lawson, Independent

The Guardian calls on the Government to "look again" at drugs legislation

"Portugal has successfully decriminalised the possession of small amounts of some drugs. New Zealand has just introduced regulation for recreational drugs. At the very least, the Home Office should hand over responsibility for drugs policy to the Department for Health. And if even that feels too risky, then start developing policy based on evidence rather than emotion." - Guardian editorial

  • "The ‘war on drugs’ has been a disaster" - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

"A few days ago the Government slipped out its most recent Civil Service recruitment statistics. And, for anyone who cares about equality, they make depressing reading" - Oliver Wright, The Independent

"Prepare to add HS2 and Universal Credit to our depressing list of fiascos" - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Huhne faces questions over his new job

"Chris Huhne, the disgraced former Energy Secretary, is facing questions about whether he misled the watchdog which advises the Government on job applications by ex-ministers. ... Mr Huhne has been appointed European chairman of Zilkha Biomass Energy" - The Times (£)

More disheartening news for Ed Miliband: only 46 per cent of Labour voters reckon he should lead the party into the next election

EDM"Of those who backed Labour in 2010, 34% say he should not lead the party into the 2015 General Election, while only 46% say he should. ... Among Labour backers, 31% are dissatisfied, while just 45% think he is doing a good job.... Martin Boon, of ICM, which did the poll, said: 'Let’s not be in any doubt that with less than half of 2010 Labour voters satisfied with him he is polling miserably.'" - Daily Mirror

But at least he can count on the support of... erm... Ken Livingstone

"The former London Mayor said Mr Miliband was 'the most impressive Labour leader' since John Smith, who died in 1994. ... He also labelled Lord Prescott — who launched a scorching attack on Mr Miliband at the weekend — 'an embarrassment'." - The Sun (£)

Chuka Umunna talks jobs and zero-hours contracts

"Some people welcome the flexibility of a zero-hours contract. But their growth is symptomatic of a wider issue – increasing job insecurity and falling living standards in David Cameron's Britain. ... government must use all the levers at its disposal to incentivise firms to adopt business models that pay people a living wage and treat them fairly." - Chuka Umunna, The Guardian

  • "We love the poor in fairytales, but survey after survey shows we are all too quick to blame real people who fall on hard times" - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

The Battle of Balcombe rages on: Caroline Lucas is among those arrested

Fracking"Green MP Caroline Lucas was among more than 30 people arrested yesterday as police finally went on the offensive in the Balcombe anti-fracking protest. ... The Brighton MP was among dozens of activists blocking the entrance of the West Sussex site preventing energy company Cuadrilla’s trucks entering." - Daily Mail

"David Cameron has unnecessarily stoked resistance to shale gas drilling in Britain by making people believe this potential new energy source was 'literally coming out of the ground' now rather than being a decade away, Labour has warned." - Financial Times

  • "Why stage a protest against fracking at a site where there is no fracking? ... Cuadrilla, the firm being targeted, is certainly operating in Balcombe. But it’s not fracking there. ... It’s drilling for oil." - Sun editorial (£)
  • "Anti-fracking zealots are the enemies of progress" - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "Caving in to the anti-fracking fanatics is a craven surrender to mob rule" - Christopher Booker, Daily Mail
  • "What is behind this fracking mania? Unbridled machismo" - George Monbiot, The Guardian

Record number of official warnings for substandard care homes and hospitals

"A record number of care homes and hospitals were issued with official warnings last year after the health watchdog uncovered ‘unacceptable’ standards of care for the most vulnerable. ... Inspectors issued 910 ‘warning notices’ prompted by examples of pensioners forced to sleep in dirty beds, use dirty commodes  and live in unheated rooms over the winter." - Daily Mail

  • "Public Health chiefs have blamed flu for the unexpected deaths of thousands of elderly people over the past year..." - The Times (£)
  • £300 million programme of health checks for the over-40s is branded a waste of money - The Times (£)

News in brief

  • New crime unit boss quits "after failing security checks" - Daily Mail
  • The number of public toilets has fallen by 40 per cent in ten years - Daily Mail
  • Oxford student Tory accused of "cruel and arrogant" prank - Daily Mail
  • Ukip chief executive Will Gilpin stands down - The Guardian

And finally 1)... The cost of David Miliband

"David Miliband is expected to cost the International Rescue charity in New York around £1million in his first year, taking into account his own £300,000 salary and relocation and other costs, together with the costs of his imported sidekicks, Ravi Gurumurthy and Ollie Money, respectively his former political strategist and PR man." - the Mandrake column in the Daily Telegraph

And finally 2)... Bambi's voodoo doll worked

Deer"David Cameron has injured his back, forcing him to cancel plans to hunt deer during his Scottish holiday. ... The Prime Minister has had a painkilling injection after suffering a protruding disc in his spine. ... In an interview on the remote Hebridean island of Jura, where Mr Cameron and his family were on their third summer holiday, he said his ‘phenomenally bad back’ had been a ‘bore’." - Daily Mail


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