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Newslinks for Friday 13th September 2013

4.30pm Alex Morton on Comment: How to give retail the power to compete

Noon ToryDiary: "Barker's stress on competition is a reminder that while Conservatives can have spikily different views about the causes of climate change and pace of decarbonisation, they agree about the role of competition." An attack on climate change sceptics by Greg Barker turns out not to be an attack

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


ToryDiary: Deficit reduction. The EU referendum. Justice for England - top "red lines" for any future Coalition talks

Iain Dale's Friday Diary: Sadly for Rachel Reeves, she will now become the Steve Davis of politics

Adrian Hilton on Comment: Christians will pay for Western intervention in Syria - many with their lives

Local Government: Sponsored Academies Week - The remarkable transformation of Grampian Primary School

The Deep End: Heresy of the week - The case for abolishing patents

Royal Mail sell-off "to go ahead in weeks"

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 18.02.42"Ministers said the sale would go ahead in weeks. Around ten per cent of shares will go to 150,000 staff — worth about £2,000 each. The Communication Workers Union is to ballot for a strike, saying privatisation may threaten jobs and lead to poor service. But the Government said it would create capital to compete in a parcels market thriving due to online shopping — while letter deliveries fall. City analysts say the float could still go ahead despite any strike — with the business likely to be valued at £3billion." - The Sun

The Commons:

  • “The Government,” concluded Mr Murray grimly, “is playing politics with the Queen’s head.” Mr Fallon – a solemn, cold-looking figure with a voice like a disgruntled Dracula – was having none of it." - Daily Telegraph
  • "Next time David Cameron needs to plug a gap in his Cabinet he could do a lot worse than summon the composed, competent Fallon" - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


  • "We do have reservations. We are not convinced Ofcom will be able to protect customers, particularly OAPs who may not use email, against sharp rises in the price of stamps." - Sun Editorial
  • "A privatised Royal Mail should deliver a better service. Its employees would be foolish to strike" - Times Editorial (£)
  • "It would be wiser for the Government to take a golden share in the company, preventing it from going the same way as our European-owned, tax-dodging, over-charging utilities" - Daily Mail Editorial

Cameron hits back at Barroso

Cameron Fightback"Mr Cameron said the President had gone beyond his remit and must respect one of the leading parties in European Parliament. Speaking on LBC 97.3, the Prime Minister said: ‘The Barroso thing did annoy me because frankly, his job is to serve the members of the European Union and the British Conservatives in the European Parliament are an important party. ‘They are the governing party of the United Kingdom and he should be respecting their views rather than trying to lecture them." - Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister backs Birmingham college ban on Muslim students wearing religious veils - Daily Mail
  • Muslim woman allowed to wear niqab in court - Daily Express

Clarke at press gallery lunch: Osborne is a future leadership contender (and Boris should "cool it")

"The Cabinet veteran said he was a 'big fan' of the Chancellor, who he said was 'playing a blinder' on the economy and warned his rivals Mr Osborne 'is bound to be a contender'. Mr Clarke, who was Chancellor in John Major's government, said with the economy finally beginning to improve: 'George has the chance of coming out with a quite remarkable outcome." - Daily Mail

  • Policy Exchange urges Chancellor to offer Lloyds shares to public - The Times (£)
  • Carney's second appearance before Treasury Select Committee less impressive than his first - Financial Times
  • Bank of England called to cap house price inflation over fears of 'dangerous' debt bubble - The Independent

Tory strategists: Lord, grant us tax cuts...but not yet

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 08.27.18"Already Conservative ministers are anticipating demands from Tory MPs – if strong growth continues – for the offer of medium-term tax cuts in the party’s manifesto. “That’s a difficult balancing act for us,” said one Tory strategist. “On the one hand we’d like to be able to offer tax cuts, on the other hand it might signal to voters that we were out of the woods and it would be safe to vote for Labour"…Tory and Lib Dem ministers admit privately that the best economic backdrop for electoral success may be a “Goldilocks recovery” that leaves sufficient uncertainty to scare voters away from changing the government." - Financial Times

Barker leads Green Tory "fightback against climate sceptics"

"Tory campaigners on climate change are embarking on a fightback against sceptics on the right of the party who have tried to "smother" debate in recent months, according to party sources. A first step in the fightback is being taken by Greg Barker, the climate change minister, who writes in a Guardian article that the government will help drive down energy costs by prising open the energy market to challenge the "big six" suppliers. "The big six need to become the big 60,000," Barker writes." - The Guardian

Baker article in full

Mike Weatherley appointed as Cameron's adviser on intellectual property

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 08.30.52"Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove and Portslade and former finance director for Pete Waterman’s entertainment businesses, will take on the newly created role to work with the industry on stamping out piracy. Mr Weatherley has previously worked as vice-president for Europe at the Motion Picture Licensing Company, which enforces copyright for the film industry, and as financial controller of the Pete Waterman Group, the entertainment company behind singers such as Kylie Minogue." - Financial Times

Gove: 'Absurd' secrecy left care children at mercy of paedophiles

"In a withering assessment of the child protection system, the Education Secretary says officialdom and red tape have prevented the authorities from stepping in to protect children and have helped grooming rings to operate. He also condemns social services departments across the country for the “indefensible” practice of “decanting” problem children to far-flung homes, away from friends and family, and routinely located in some of the country’s worst crime hot spots." - Daily Telegraph

Gove article in full

Labour is still getting the blame for spending cuts, according to YouGov poll for Labour Uncut

Miliband_1"Kevin Meagher, associate editor of Labour Uncut, described the findings as “politically toxic” and said the party needs to “stop this rot in public trust”. Writing on The Independent’s website, he warned: “This gap goes to the heart of Labour’s credibility as a party of government, so narrowing it must be a strategic priority.” He conceded that Labour has started to make the case for a tougher approach, but said it did so “intermittently and behind a cupped hand”." - The Independent

Fraser Nelson: Miliband, lonely and exposed

"Miliband has no praetorians, no loyalists willing to fight on his behalf when things get tough. Had Cameron lost such a vote against Tony Blair, or even the late John Smith, he would have spent the next day batting off attacks from all manner of MPs. Once, a well-oiled Labour machine would exploit the smallest Tory mis-step. Now, there is only what Tom Watson euphemistically describes as Miliband’s “Buddha-like qualities” of patience and “deep thought”." - Daily Telegraph

Farron backs 'super mansion tax' for £4 million homes - as the LibDem conference looms...

"The party already advocates a 1 per cent tax on homes worth more than £2million, but party president Tim Farron said those worth more should face an even higher rate. He said yesterday: ‘You could have various rates within the mansion tax. A £4million property, for example, paying a higher rate.’ Mr Farron told the Evening Standard he wanted to charge people who had properties and wealth at much more than £2million 'a higher proportion' instead of lowering the threshold to catch more properties." - Daily Mail

  • Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 08.32.40Voters see Clegg as a poodle - The Sun
  • Lord Oakeshott, Cable's ally, says that the Lib Dems must drop Clegg to save seats if they are to save seats - The Guardian
  • Clegg faces challenge from Lib Dem left as conference looms - Financial Times
  • Lib Dems accused of environment failure - The Times (£)
  • Clegg can tell his party to hold their nerve - Sir Menzies Campbell, The Guardian
  • Liberalism triumphs while Lib Dems sink - Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • Webb warns that up to 12 million people face a pensions shortfall - The Independent

Third UKIP MEP quits party, says it's "totalitarian", blames Farage

"A former deputy leader of Ukip has resigned from the party and accused Nigel Farage of running a "totalitarian" organisation. Mike Nattrass, a Ukip MEP in the West Midlands, gave up his membership after the party said he could not stand again in next year's European elections because he failed a candidate test. Nattrass is now the third MEP to resign since the party won 13 seats in the 2009 European elections, after two previously defected to the Tories." - The Guardian

IPSA to propose per cent pay rise for MPs, but party leaders will urge its rejection

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 08.33.34"MPs will get a pay rise of more than £7,500 under proposals published today by the independent parliamentary standards watchdog. The increase, well above inflation, is likely to be condemned as unacceptable by David Cameron and rejected out of hand by Ed Miliband. Neither party leader, however, is planning to commit himself to refusing the pay rise on an MP’s basic salary, which is currently £66,396." - The Times (£)

  • Number of MPs employing family members up by a fifth - Daily Mail
  • Some MPs may never sit in the Commons if renovations go ahead, warns Pauline Latham - Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Scotland Yard probes Sunday Mirror hacking claims - Daily Express
  • UN: Assad is to blame for chemical strike - The Times (£)
  • Abu Hamza's lieutenant cannot be sent to America to face terror charges because it will breach his human rights - Daily Mail
  • UK wins backing on clash with EU over short selling rules - Financial Times
  • Women bishops approved in Wales - The Guardian
  • Institute of Strategic Studies says that 2014 could be "year of reckoning" with Iran over nuclear weapons - The Sun (£)
  • No future for bobbies on the beat, claims senior police officer - The Independent
  • Apology demanded over Lamont’s SNP land deal claim - Scotsman
  • Brian May apologises over badgers genocide row - Daily Telegraph
  • Duke of Cambridge leaves armed forces - Daily Mail
  • 70mph gales set to batter Britain - Daily Express

And finally...Almost a year on, there's no police report into Mitchell "Plebgate" probe

"Scotland Yard’s investigation into the “Plebgate” incident is still incomplete almost a year after the confrontation between armed police officers and Andrew Mitchell in Downing Street. The Crown Prosecution Service said last night that it did not yet have a complete file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Alice, which is investigating who leaked accounts of the incident to the media and allegations of fabricated evidence." - The Times (£)


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