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Cameron: Britain will review Russian arms sales

Camerons thinking copy“Britain will review its outstanding arms deals with Russia, David Cameron has pledged as the MPs called on the Government to clarify its position on weapons sales. The news came after a committee of MPs disclosed that more than 200 licences to sell British weapons to Russia are still in place. Mr Cameron said he would act “very swiftly” if British arms exports to Russia were being deployed against Ukraine but insisted an embargo had not been breached.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment

  • “Smart sanctions can sever the Kremlin’s tentacles in Ukraine. They must also persuade Russia’s elite to open their country” – Times Editorial (£)
  • British hypocrisy over France and Russian sanctions – Daily Mail Editorial

Tim Montgomerie: Cameron has been let down by his pollsters

“Much of the polling conducted for him was produced by people who were ideologically ill-disposed to traditionalist conservative views on Europe, the family and tax….The pollsters were infected with the same disposition that affected the whole early Cameron operation — that the Tories were somehow too old-fashioned when the real, bigger problem was that the Conservatives were too much a party of the rich and advantaged. Their predispositions encouraged them to spend a lot of time understanding one corner of public opinion but not others.” – The Times (£)

Truckers’ speed limits will be raised next year, says Claire Perry

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.24.09“Speed limits putting the brakes on Britain’s truckers since the 1960s are being raised — to get the nation moving. Ministers today will reveal lorries will be able to hit 50mph on roads — up from the current 40mph. And they plan to consult on lifting limits on dual carriageways to 60mph. The haulage industry has been calling for change for years. Ministers claim the move will boost safety by cutting accidents caused by frustrated motorists attempting to overtake slow-moving lorries.” – The Sun (£)

Maude pilgrims savings crackdown latest

“Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said the number of so-called “pilgrims” had fallen from 200 to 20 since 2011. Trade unions insist their officials prevent damaging strikes by resolving disputes. But Mr Maude said: “Trade unions can play a constructive role in the modern workplace. But before the 2010 General Election too many civil servants were working on nothing but union duties and there were no effective controls in place. We now limit the time civil servants can spend on trade union work, saving an estimated £6million a year.” – The Sun (£)

The Sun interviews Liz Truss.  She looks back her childhood of CND marches.  And says that voters are “fed up with politicians where there are lots of bland lines to take”

s216_Elizabeth-Truss“Could the powerful minister, close to the pinnacle of her party, really have spent her youth shouting: ‘‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out”? Sitting forward in one of the armchairs in her large, wood-panelled office, she said: “I probably didn’t know what I was saying. “I was seven at the time but I definitely remember that is what people were saying, absolutely. “We did a number of things like marches, protests.” – The Sun (£)

The OBR declares that one in three people will end up paying higher rate tax.  Lord Lamont argues that the threshold should be raised.

“The figures, published in response to a request by The Telegraph, will increase pressure on David Cameron to pledge to raise the threshold in the Conservative manifesto next year. Lord Lamont of Lerwick, the Conservative chancellor under Sir John Major, said: “For the next parliament, raising the higher rate threshold should be a top objective for a Conservative government. “It makes no sense that a rate that Nigel Lawson intended to be for the richest people in the country is now being paid by secretaries and middle management.” – Daily Telegraph

More peerages shortly.  Number of peers set to top 1000 after next election. (And Willetts and Barker are tipped to be among them.)

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.33.25“Former energy minister Greg Barker is among those tipped to enter the Lords. One of the first MPs to back Mr Cameron for the Tory leadership, Mr Barker surprised colleagues by giving up his job voluntarily in last week’s government reshuffle and announcing he is to stand down as an MP in nine months’ time. Former universities and science minister  David Willetts is thought to be another to be handed a peerage when he too steps down at the next election.” – Daily Mail

The Express picks up Andrew Gimson’s ConservativeHome interview with Liam Fox

“Dr Fox told the Conservative Home website: “I still think we’ve got room to improve on immigration. Because I think we have rather allowed this debate to be lost in confusion. People now, because of a good campaign by Ukip, tend to equate immigration and European immigration. And of course more than two-thirds of our immigration is from outside Europe, and only 18% of our immigration is from eastern Europe.” – Daily Express

> Yesterday: Interview -Fox propounds his points-based immigration policy – and agrees it would mean a fall in family migration

Leo McKinstry: Stephen Crabb is a man of the people

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.34.35“This is a highly original politician who is willing to defy the culture of privilege and entitlement that envelops Westminster. In his very first move as Welsh Secretary he announced that he would dispense with his £96,000-a-year chauffeur-driven official Jaguar limousine and instead rely on public transport where possible explaining that “when we are having to make difficult decisions about public spending there is no justification for using it in London”.” – Daily Express

  • Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar denies getting friends to distribute copies of a newsletter libelling him – Wales Online

Cable’s bid for all-women shortlists declared illegal

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission said the practice would be unlawful as a way of tackling underrepresentation. The business secretary had asked the equalities body to advise on the legality of excluding men from shortlists as part of an effort to improve the gender balance in boardrooms. The commission published guidance on Wednesday saying it did not believe it was lawful to address underrepresentation “by longlisting or shortlisting only female candidates to the detriment of male candidates”.” – Financial Times

  • Business Secretary helps to put the brake on two more privatisations - Financial Times
  • Liberal Democrats brief against Cameron basing himself in Scotland during the run-up to the independence referendum – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister: independence will go down to the wire – The Sun (£)

> Yesterday: It’s time to bin this equalities red tape

Ward continues his quest to save his Bradford East seat

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.35.54“David Ward tweeted on Tuesday night: ‘The big question is – if I lived in Gaza, would I fire a rocket? Probably, yes.’ Continuing his rant, he added: ‘Ich bin ein Palestinian – the West must make up its mind which side it is on.’ Amid a growing storm of controversy, Mr Ward issued a statement which Lib Dem HQ insisted amounted to a ‘categorical apology’.” – Daily Mail

  • Hammond: UN Human Rights Council resolution on Gaza is  “fundamentally unbalanced” and would “complicate the process by introducing unnecessary new mechanisms” – Sky News
  • Mutual fear condemns Gaza to Groundhog Day – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • Fire Ward – The Sun (£)
  • Ugly sentiments are surfacing in anti-Israel demonstrations in Europe – Times Editorial (£)
  • For Arab Christians and secular Arab nationalists, Isis may be the death knell – William Dalrymple, The Guardian

> Today: Columnist Graeme Archer: My friend, who dares not speak his name

> Yesterday: Jeremy Brier on Comment: The Liberal Democrats’ Jewish problem

Harman says that Labour will tax top football clubs

Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.37.20“Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman will today insist there should be a ‘proper levy’ on top clubs’ revenue from the sale of their television rights to help develop grassroots football. A new tax on all sports betting – similar to that already levied on horseracing – would help pay to reintroduce two hours of sport for every primary school child.” – Daily Mail

  • Emily Benn, granddaughter of Tony Benn: What I can offer British politics – Daily Telegraph

Bank of England puts off interest rise. Carney shifts focus from employment to pay growth.

“Speaking at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Mr Carney said policy-makers would “update thinking” on how to take into account the prospects for pay. The stay of execution will be welcomed by millions of mortgage payers who face a jump in their repayments when the record low base rate of 0.5 per cent is increased. Mr Carney also used his speech to reiterate that when rates do start to rise it will be “gradual and limited”.” - Daily Express

  • Company pulls out of jobs scheme after Twitter protests over Osborne visit – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: The Deep End – Conservatives need to talk about the deserving and undeserving rich

News in Brief

  • Screen shot 2014-07-24 at 08.38.37Commonwealth Games open - Scotsman
  • Ruffley speaks of assault ‘regret’ – BBC
  • Mark Harper’s cleaner questions his account as she prepares to be deported – Daily Mail
  • Birmingham could be first public sector hub outside London - Birmingham Post
  • Council ‘gagged teachers’ from raising Trojan Horse concerns – Daily Telegraph
  • More NHS trusts show signs of financial stress - Financial Times
  • Ex-Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire faces fraud charge over expenses – The Times (£)
  • Energy competition probe turns up heat on the Big Six – Daily Telegraph
  • Hillary Clinton alleged to have claimed Bill Clinton had sex with lots of women because he was abused by his mother - Daily Mail
  • Bill Clinton: Aids-free generation within reach – The Independent
  • Unionists urged to abandon “lop-sided” inquiry into parading – Irish News
  • Five per cent of Britain’s prison population is aged over 90 – The Sun (£)
  • Sacked Baby P chief Sharon Shoesmith won payout of more than £600,000 – The Guardian
  • Peaches: her final day – The Independent
  • Sun blazes, stormclouds gather – Daily Express