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Newslinks for Thursday 29th August 2013

Half past midnight, MPsETC: Full list of the 30 Conservative rebel MPs who sank the Government's Syria motion


* Cameron says he believes in respecting the will of the House - and that he "gets" the message.

* Big implications for special relationship with America and Executive's control of foreign policy.

* Questions for the Whips and Downing Street - and a blow to Cameron's authority.

* Claim that last time Parliament rejected a Government's advice on military action was 1782.

6pm WATCH: David Cameron makes his case on Syria

4.15pm MPsETC: LISTEN: Cameron and Miliband's speeches in the Syria debate

Ballot Box1.15pm Professor Sarah Birch on Comment: First-time compulsory voting is the best way to make democracy a habit

Noon Local Government: "Is singing in a church choir a religous activity? Is flower arranging in church? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? The taxpayer spends half a million a year for the Office of the Schools Adjudicator to produce this meddling piffle." Hands off London Oratory School

11.45am LeftWatch: "It's not every day the Government brief newspapers that the Leader of the Opposition is a bleeping bleep and an absolute bleep. Miliband should be over the moon - where once the Conservatives laughed about him, now they swear about him." Ed Miliband should be delighted the Government are swearing about him - but events may soon spoil his mood

10.15am ToryDiary: Perhaps David Cameron does read ConHome - here are 10 of our proposals he has recently adopted

ToryDiary: "All in all, what has driven the screech of brakes over Syria is the old familiar truth - namely, that Cameron doesn't have full control of the car.  He has no Commons majority.  He is dependent on the Liberal Democrats and truculent backbenchers." Cameron hasn't solved his Party problems this summer - and his Syrian humiliation proves it

British Army
Former soldier and Conservative PPC James Heappey on Comment: "If we are honestly saying that any decision to intervene is going to be based, at least in part, on the risk of taking casualties in the process; then we may as well give up on any notion of having expeditionary armed forces altogether." MPs should decide if intervention is right - not worry about the risk of British casualties

For this week's Culture Column, Peter Hoskin introduces ConHome's political film club with a review of The Great McGinty: America according to Preston Sturges

Local Government: Stoke councillors give themselves nine per cent pay rise

The Deep End: Good news! Healthcare costs are bankrupting us at a slower rate than ever before! 

Cameron Dark
Cameron backtracks on Syria intervention 

"David Cameron was forced to delay plans for immediate military strikes on Syria last night after being warned he faced losing a Commons vote. The Prime Minister battled desperately to get a consensus for a missile attack, but was forced by Ed Miliband and Tory rebels to allow UN inspectors time to report on last week’s chemical weapons atrocity.  MPs will vote tonight on a hastily prepared motion which still supports the principle of military action." - Daily Mail 

  • Tory MPs line up to say No - Daily Mail
  • Cameron risks war with his party - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Public opposition to strikes grows - The Times (£) 
  • “No 10 and the Foreign Office think Miliband is a f****** c*** and a copper-bottomed s***"" - The Times (£) 
  • Russia and China defend Assad - FT
  • Our limited capacity to intervene becomes clear - Liam Fox, City AM

The newspapers offer their opinions:

SyriaMeanwhile, in Syria…

  • Is Assad using napalm and phosphorus, too? - Daily Mail



Carney feels sorry for savers hammered by low interest rates

"In his first speech since taking up the position, Mark Carney expressed his sympathy for a generation of thrifty savers, including millions of pensioners, whose nest eggs have been destroyed. He said they had ‘done the right thing, set money aside, and now they are  earning returns that are substantially below what they would have expected’." - Daily Mail 

Civil service boss faces the chop after angering Maude

MAUDE looking right copy"Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service, is resisting pressure to step down from his post next month and make way for a full-time replacement, possibly from the private sector. Ministerial sources have been briefing against Sir Bob for weeks after claims that Civil Service reforms have not been implemented and are not radical enough…He is said to have poor relations with Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, and has lost the confidence of the Prime Minister, who has asked Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, to look for a replacement." - The Times (£) 

The badger cull goes ahead - with science on its side 

"The cull has the weight of evidence on its side. The protesters have on theirs the mythology of the place of the badger in English country life. That place is not static: the badger population has grown dramatically since it was made illegal to interfere with badgers’ setts. Defra has a public obligation to control TB in cattle, lest it spread to other livestock and further still, perhaps to domestic animals too. Whatever the pantomime of protest, that duty remains." - The Times (£) 

  • Anti-cull groups engage in terrorism - Daily Mail 

3.5m households without work 

"Some 3.5 million families with at least one person aged 16 to 64 don't have a single person doing any work. In some parts of the UK a quarter of homes have nobody in employment, the Office for National Statistics figures show. The most common reason residents gave for not working was being sick or disabled (28 per cent), followed by 21 per cent citing unemployment, 17 per cent early retirement, 15 per cent looking after family or home and 13 per cent study." - Daily Express 

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - The number of households without work is at the lowest since records began - how can we drive it down further?

Countryside campaigners' anger at Boles

"Rural campaigners were furious yesterday about plans to force some councils to build more homes to bring prices down to help low earners. Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, proposed that all local authorities should have to face an “affordability test”. Under the Government’s revised planning guidance, published yesterday, councils will have to monitor the price of local homes and rents against local salaries. Where prices are judged unaffordable against local wages they will be expected to build more homes." - The Times (£) 

>Yesterday: Local Government - Cllr John Moss argues that nationalisation of the planning system has failed

Brandon Lewis battles firefighter strike misinformation

"A minister last night rapped firefighters ahead of their strike vote on pensions today — saying their deal is TWICE as good as the private sector. A ballot by the Fire Brigades Union for a series of crippling walkouts across the UK in the autumn closes this afternoon. The Government fears militants will win it due to what they dubbed as “a cynical disinformation campaign”." - The Sun (£) 

English devolution must go further, warns LGA

England-flag"Plans to give English MPs a greater say over England-only legislation will fail to address the serious imbalance in UK policy making, ministers have been warned. Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, said there was growing “grassroots” concern that England was not getting enough from the proposed settlement." - FT 

Dangers in the death of the middle class

"What will the middle classes do? Quietly despair? Their aspirations for their offspring have been dashed on the rock of austerity. Many have taken to blaming the poor, who are somehow fraudulent in their deprivation – they have big TVs! Cameron may represent himself as resolutely middle class, struggling under a towel in Cornwall, but this was a man who would have spent his holiday shooting deer if he could. As this act wears thin, the running down of the middle class leaves us with little but a professional political class flailing around trying to act normally and looking more and more bizarre in the process." - Suzanne Moore, The Guardian 

Is HS2 the only infrastructure choice?

"Opponents say the money would be better spent elsewhere. The Institute of Directors wants it to go on commuter lines. One Birmingham MP wants a metro. But if HS2 is cancelled, the Government will not suddenly spend more on commuter lines. Instead, Britain’s century-old underinvestment in infrastructure will continue." - Daniel Knowles, The Times (£) 

>Yesterday: Paul Maynard MP on Comment - Turn your back on HS2 and you turn your back on the North of England

41 per cent rise in foreign nationals on benefits

Immigration Door"Benefit claims by foreign nationals have increased by more than 40 per cent in the past five years, official figures show. The astonishing increase has taken the number of non-Britons in receipt of benefits over 400,000 for the first time. The rise has been fuelled by a four-fold increase in benefit claims by Eastern Europeans, and sharp rises among African claimants." - Daily Mail 

News in brief

  • The Church should repent over past treatment of gay people, says ABC - Daily Mail 
  • 4,000 bad pubs to close down - The Guardian 
  • China has the rule of fear, not the rule of law - David Aaronovitch, The Times (£) 
  • Scientists create human mini-brain - FT 
  • Egypt military exports frozen - The Guardian 
  • School uniforms cost a week's wages - The Sun (£) 
  • Investors must become activists - FT 
  • Fort Hood shooter sentenced to death - The Guardian 

And finally…

What could the Romans have done for us?

"Three quarters of voters reckon emperors in ancient Rome had better policies than today’s parties, a bizarre study has revealed. Two thousand Brits were shown a manifesto secretly based on what the Caesars pledged — and 43 per cent said they would vote for it. A third even mistook it for the work of a modern-day party — despite it including a vow by crazed Caligula to let horses into Parliament." - The Sun (£) 


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