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Newslinks for Wednesday 18th September 2013

Screen shot 2013-09-18 at 19.04.565.30pm ToryDiary: "Here was an unaccustomed effort within the Lib Dems to build up a leadership cult. They were practising power worship. Mr Clegg accommodated the power worshippers. Thus there were a few insidery anecdotes - something about sorting out the furniture when he first became Deputy Prime Minister and also something about meeting Andy Murray." Nick Clegg turns up the volume

4.45pm WATCH: Nick Clegg: "We will bring down the two-party system"

4.15pm Local Government: UKIP start shedding councilllors

2.30pm MPsETC: New edition Loyalty Boris (batteries included, moving parts, press here for anecdotes) hits the shelves

1.30pm WATCH: Osborne wants bank shares for the many and not just the few

11.30am Nick Faith on ThinkTankCentral: "The Government should give away the remaining shares to anyone in the country who is on the electoral roll and has a National Insurance number. Unlike Thatcher’s privatisations of the 1980s, people would not have to pay a penny to receive their allocation of shares." Osborne should use the Lloyds sell-off to put money in all our pockets

10.45am WATCH: Theresa May says "It's not for the Government to tell women what to wear"

10am ToryDiary: Coming for Party Conference - a ConHome redesign (reprise)

ToryDiary: EXCLUSIVE - CCHQ declares Conservative Party membership to be 134,000

In his column, Party Chairman Grant Shapps writes: Yes, Party membership will survive - but it will change. Here's what we're doing to revive it


Also on ToryDiary, we offer a match report on the last three years: Who is winning the Coalition? Us or the Lib Dems?

Also: Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue Column: Welsh FM calls for end to devolution "tinkering"

On Comment:

LeftWatch: Nick Clegg's "free school meals for all" plan clashes with his own principles and policies. Oops.

Local Government: David Skelton on Cities at the heart of devolution

The Deep End: Centralisation plus complexity: a fatal formula for welfare reform

Clegg announces free school meals for every 5- to 7-year-old...

Free school meals are to be extended to all infant pupils in England at a cost of £600million a year. Nick Clegg will announce today that from next September an extra 1.5million children will qualify for the meals, regardless of their parents’ income. Mr Clegg’s announcement at 5pm came only two hours after Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander had told the conference: ‘There’s no spending bonanza around the corner.’" - Daily Mail 

>Today: LeftWatch - Nick Clegg's "free school meals for all" plan clashes with his own principles and policies. Oops.

>Today: Robert Halfon MP on Comment - How a cross-party campaign for free school meals won the backing of Michael Gove and Nick Clegg

…in return for agreeing to Cameron's marriage tax break

"Some senior Conservatives were angry at suggestions that the policy was a “quid pro quo” for the marriage tax allowance…The marriage tax allowance, to be announced by David Cameron at the Tory Party’s annual conference, is expected to cost about £550 million. Both benefits, due to start before the 2015 election, will be spelt out in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement." - The Times (£) 

>Today: ToryDiary - Who is winning the Coalition? Us or the Lib Dems?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - Lib Dems in Glasgow cannot hide harmony in Downing Street

MPs demand transparency over nursing numbers

"MPs called for all hospitals to publish ward staffing levels daily. The Health Select Committee said that patients, regulators and NHS bosses must be able to see how many nurses were working every day and how that compared to the number that should be on duty. Stephen Dorrell, the Conservatice chairman of the committee, said that the Stafford Hospital scandal must be an “electric shock” that galvanised the NHS to become more open." - The Times (£) 

Germans don't trust the EU 

Euro meltdown"A majority of Germans do not trust European Union institutions according to a poll showing a shift to greater Euroscepticism in Europe’s largest economy. The YouGov Deutschland survey also showed a majority of Germans believe a British exit from the EU would be bad for both Germany and the EU. Nearly two in three Germans polled said Germany and Britain could be strong allies in reforming the EU, though France is still viewed as Germany’s most important ally." - Daily Mail  

  • IoD members back renegotiation plan - Daily Express
  • Veil campaign could clash with European law - The Sun (£) 

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - Euroscepticism is rising on the Continent, but is it enough to aid Cameron's renegotiation?

One year to go before the Scottish referendum

"In exactly a year’s time the Scottish people — or at any rate, those people living in Scotland — will decide whether they wish to remain part of the United Kingdom. Despite opinion polls currently showing a majority would vote “no” (including this newspaper’s YouGov poll today) there should be no complacency in the cross-party “Better Together” campaign. In Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, the “yes” campaign is led by a politician with a popular touch." - The Times Leader (£) 

Everyone to be offered discounted Lloyds shares

"Millions of ordinary investors could be offered a pre-election sweetener next year in the form of cheap shares in Lloyds. The plan emerged after fund managers and insurers snapped up 6 per cent of the state-backed lender in five hours on Monday night, raising £3.2billion for the Treasury." - Daily Mail 

Investigation into Andrew Mitchell police to drag on into next year

Police"Scotland Yard signalled last night that its inquiry into the Plebgate affair could drag on into 2014 after it was handed new information. It revealed detectives are examining ‘three separate pieces of evidence’ passed to the force by the police watchdog and a ‘third party’. Their appearance led to senior prosecutors handing back the case file on the explosive 45 second Downing Street clash." - Daily Mail 

Cameron defends right of Spurs fans to call themselves the "yid army" 

"David Cameron was drawn into a row over offensive football chants yesterday as he defended Tottenham Hotspur fans who shout the word ‘Yid’. The Prime Minister revealed that he thought supporters of the North London club should not face prosecution for chanting the terms ‘Yiddos’ and ‘Yid army’ at games because they are jokingly referring to themselves and therefore not ‘motivated by hate’. But he said other people should be discouraged from using the term, because of the offence it could cause." - Daily Mail 

Miliband's policies are a "pregnant panda", says Jacqui Smith

Labour holes"Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has said she worries Labour's policy review resembles a pregnant panda - a long time in the making but with no-one sure if there is anything in there. It was a reference to giant panda Tian Tian, who is thought could give birth at Edinburgh Zoo soon but keepers are not certain she is even expecting." - Daily Mail 

News in Brief

  • You can abort babies by sex, says abortion clinic chief - Daily Mail 
  • Housing bubble? Price rises only 3 per cent - Daily Mail 
  • Fracking even safer than previously thought - The Times (£) 
  • The welfare state is over, declares new Dutch King - Daily Mail 
  • £80,000 a year for just one wind turbine - Daily Mail 
  • Syrian rebels use iPad to guide mortar fire - Daily Mail 
  • A fifth of workers fear they'll never retire - Daily Mail 

And finally...Osborne's new barnet attracts attention

"The choppy, layered cut is used by hairdressers to make it seem as though their clients’ hair is thicker than it really is, in turn helping them look younger.  It seems to have worked for Mr Osborne. The new style appeared to have taken a few years off the 42-year-old, who was seen in June with thin and greying hair. Mr Osborne was speaking to Lloyds Banking staff in Birmingham after the sale of taxpayer-owned shares." - Daily Mail 


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