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Newslinks for Thursday 12th September 2013

8pm WATCH: Boris tells Labour London Assembly member Andrew Dismore to "Get Stuffed"

Screen shot 2013-09-12 at 18.02.426pm Michael Fallon MP on Comment: How our share sales plan will boost Royal Mail and secure the universal service

5.30pm LeftWatch: "A year ago, I imagine Plan B was pretty popular, but now he's off the playlist for obvious reasons." We present our Top Ten Labour Conference karaoke tracks

2.15pm Rob Gray on Comment: Thousands of local residents support Heathrow airport; it's time their voice was heard

1.15pm ToryDiary: "It's always hard to talk about problems with the NHS. But if politicians wanted an easy life, they should have chosen a different job. As a matter quite literally of life and death, this issue is too important to allow Westminster taboos to shut down discussion." The NHS has a higher death rate than most Western health systems - it requires bravery to set that right

10.45am Lord McColl on Comment: Slipping through the net – trafficked children are left alone and vulnerable

ToryDiary: On tax, raising the stamp duty threshold tops our "red lines" poll and restoring the 10p tax band comes last

Jo Johnson"When Johnson was made head of the Downing Street policy unit, he assured the local press that he would be Orpington’s “eyes and ears” in Number Ten. The phrase was characteristic: he presented himself as someone who would be there on other people’s behalf." Andrew Gimson profiles Jo Johnson, Boris' younger brother and a key figure in Tory policymaking

Adrian Hilton writes this week's Culture Column: Pompeii and Herculaneum – the original Ground Zero

Brooks Newmark MP on Comment: Five ideas from the Million Jobs Campaign to help young people get and keep work

MPsETC: Read the full text of Grant Shapps' letter of protest to the UN over their loony left Housing rapporteur

Local Government: "When Conservatives regained control of Croydon Council back in 2006, attainment in our secondary schools was below national average...Today Croydon’s schools perform significantly better than the national average, despite the fact that many of our brightest young people still go to independent schools in Croydon or grammar schools in neighbouring boroughs." As part of Sponsored Academies Week, Gavin Barwell MP writes about how competition is driving up standards in Croydon's schools

The Deep End: Journalists not politicians are the real masters of spin

"Loopy leftie" UN inspector causes outrage with political attack on the Government 

SHAPPS NEW"Furious Tories last night demanded the UN apologise for allowing a ‘loopy Brazilian leftie’ to attack the Government’s welfare reforms. Iain Duncan Smith said Raquel Rolnik had undermined the impartiality of the UN with her ‘outrageous’ call for his housing benefit shake-up to be axed…Tory MP Stewart Jackson said Miss Rolnick was a ‘loopy Brazilian leftie with no evidence masquerading as a serious UN official’." - Daily Mail 

>Today: MPsETC - Read the full text of Grant Shapps' letter of protest to the UN over their loony left Housing rapporteur

>Yesterday: Local Government - Scandal of the UN's attack on the spare room subsidy cut

Private sector growth and Whitehall cuts start to rebalance the economy

Growth ConHome"Fewer than one in five jobs are now taxpayer-funded in a boost for David Cameron’s claim to a private sector-led recovery. New figures reveal has public sector employment has fallen 104,000 in a year to 5.67 million, equivalent to 19 per cent of all jobs – the lowest level since records began 14 years ago. By contrast there are 380,000 more private sector workers than a year ago, taking the total number to a record high of 24.17 million." - Daily Mail 



Royal Mail privatisation gets the go-ahead

"The government will announce its intention to sell a majority of the world’s oldest postal service in the most ambitious privatisation since John Major sold off the railways in the 1990s. Vince Cable, business secretary, briefed the cabinet on the plans on Tuesday. It means the coalition is within sight of a goal that has eluded governments over 20 years. Lady Thatcher balked at selling Royal Mail. Subsequent efforts by Lords Heseltine and Mandelson, Conservative and Labour industry secretaries, to sell all or part of the company failed because of MPs’ opposition." - FT 


Shocking new figures on NHS death rates

"Death rates in NHS hospitals are among the highest in the western world, shock figures revealed yesterday. British patients were found to be almost 50 per cent more likely to die from poor care than those in America. They have five times the chance of dying from pneumonia and twice the chance of being killed by blood poisoning. Experts say that, despite recent improvements, NHS death rates still outstrip those in many other European countries." - Daily Mail 

  • NHS boss steps down just before Morecambe Bay baby death inquiry begins - Daily Mail 
  • 50 ideas to fix the health service - The Independent 

Syria prevarication risks leaving Assad in power

"[Russia and the West] are arriving in Geneva with a recipe for prevarication and the further erosion of the West’s moral authority. For Mr Putin, his Syrian ally and other despots, these are outcomes worth pursuing. For the rest of us, they are unacceptable. The White House has correctly argued that the cred-ble threat of US military action helped to loosen diplomatic gridlock over Syria. That threat cannot now be withdrawn; nor, more generally, can Washington continue to let Moscow dictate the terms of these negotiations." - The Times Leader (£) 

  • Hollande mocks Cameron's "schoolboy error" - Daily Mail 

John Redwood writes to William Hague expressing concern over the FCO's pro-EU bias

EU Exit"The Foreign Office review of the balances of EU competences — documenting the powers that Brussels has over Britain — is important work. The title may not be catchy, but it is about our democracy and identity as a nation. The six chapters published so far read as whitewash to justify the existing settlement. The reader is alerted to the overarching bias of the exercise in the first sentence: “Membership of the EU is in the UK’s national interests.”…Surely the review should only conclude on the balance of the UK’s national interest once the whole exercise is complete?" - John Redwood, The Times (£) 


This is the BBC's "annus horribilis", says Maria Miller

BBC"The future of the BBC Trust is to be reviewed after an ‘annus horribilis’ for the corporation, the Culture Secretary said last night. In a scathing response to the payoff debacle, Maria Miller said the corporation’s handling of executive pay was ‘just not good enough’ and serious questions had been raised about the judgment of its top managers. She said she planned to strengthen the legal powers of the National Audit Office to allow it to demand access to all BBC documents whenever it wanted." - Daily Mail  

>Tuesday: Jackie Doyle-Price MP on Comment - Lord Patten - more sinned against than sinning in the BBC Trust debacle

Miliband's poll ratings slump to levels last seen during IDS' leadership

Red Ed"Ed Miliband’s popularity has slumped to its lowest level ever – rivalling even Iain Duncan Smith’s appalling personal ratings during his disastrous spell as Tory leader. The latest Ipsos MORI survey shows that six in ten British adults say they are dissatisfied with the Labour leader, compared to just 24 per cent who are satisfied. His net satisfaction rate of minus 36 per cent is comparable with the low point of Mr Duncan Smith's leadership, eight months before he was ousted as by the Tory party in 2003. Even among Labour supporters Mr Miliband has negative ratings, with 52 per cent of Labour supporters dissatisfied with his performance compared to 40 per cent who are happy with it." - Daily Mail  

Nigel Evans makes statement to the Commons on his resignation 

"Quitting as Deputy Speaker, he addressed hundreds of MPs including the Prime Minister about his desire to ‘robustly defend my innocence and seek acquittal’. Quoting Churchill, he referred to the death of his mother and the spiritual support of Parliament’s chaplain before thanking fellow MPs for their ‘hugs, prayers and good wishes’. Last night Evans was charged with the rape of a man between March 29 and April 1, 2013, five sexual assaults dating back to 2009 and two indecent assaults dating back to 2002. The Conservative says he will continue to represent his Ribble Valley constituency in Lancashire but as an independent MP." - Daily Mail  

>Yesterday: Tory Diary - Andrew Gimson's Commons sketch: Nigel Evans thanks his friends and colleagues for their "unstinting support"

On the spot fines fail to stop yobs, warns Grayling

"Yobs are putting aside cash to pay spot fines for drunkenness and violence, knowing they can then carry on offending, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling warns today. In a speech to magistrates he will warn that high streets have become ‘fair game’ for low level offenders who make life a misery for the public." - Daily Mail 

  • Home Office made police release shoplifting illegal immigrant - Daily Mail 

Gove is urged to delay school start until age seven

Gove"Traditional lessons should be put on hold for up to two years amid fears that successive governments have promoted a “too much, too soon” culture in schools and nurseries, it is claimed. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the group of academics, teachers, authors and charity leaders call for a fundamental reassessment of national policies on early education." - Daily Telegraph 

>Today: Local Government - Gavin Barwell MP writes about how competition is driving up standards in Croydon's schools

>Yesterday: Local Government - John Bald says "The Assistant Head could usefully do up his tie" in a review of a new Channel 4 series Trying hard to educate Yorkshire

News in brief

  • Government adviser shoots down Government HS2 economic case - FT 
  • Downing Street rejects Sir Chris Hoy's offer to become national cycling champion - The Times (£) 
  • Boris loses his temper with hecklers - Daily Mail 
  • After the Le Vell case, when will men get anonymity in rape cases? - Peter Lloyd, Daily Mail 
  • Flagship eco-school becomes uninhabitable - Daily Mail 
  • New claims MI5 and Special Branch "covered up" evidence against paedophile MP Cyril Smith  - Daily Mail 
  • Councillor accidentally approves "eyesore" by pressing the wrong button - Daily Mail 
  • Revealed: the most boring, snoring MPs - The Sun 


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