Published:

6.30pm Sir Andrew Green on Comment: "The announcement of an
amnesty would trigger a flood of visitors and legal
migrants overstaying their visas in the expectation that they would eventually
benefit from it.  As a result, the
Conservatives would lose far more votes than they would gain." 
There should not be an amnesty for illegal immigrants

2.30pm Local Government: Does Boris want Heathrow to close?

1.30pm Dr Thérèse Coffey MP on Comment: How to boost the role of women in business at the top

11am ToryDiary: Is the Defence Secretary really on manoeuvres?

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Two posts on the Mayor of London lead ConservativeHome today:

Iain Dale's Friday Diary: Neither Cameron nor Osborne give a monkey's cuss about tax breaks for married couples. Good.

James Morris MP on Local Government: Let's have more local incentives and innovation to boost skills and employment

MPsETC: Pickles bites back

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: Owen Paterson is wrong about GM crops

OFGEM: the lights could go out in election year…

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.24.26"Britain could face a return to Seventies-style power rationing to prevent blackouts. The disturbing news came amid warnings that the country may not be producing enough energy to keep the lights on by 2015. Offices and factories could be ‘bribed’ to close for up to four hours a day during the winter to prevent households losing power." – Daily Mail

  • Fallon dismisses energy blackout – BBC
  • Nuclear power gets £10bn financial guarantee boost – The Guardian
  • Charlie Elphicke MP calls for levy on utility groups that avoid tax – Financial Times 
  • "The announcement of major Government investment in the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point is welcome but, on its own, nowhere near enough." – Daily Mail Editorial
  • Britain needs an energy revolution, and quickly – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • Time for action to avert a catastrophic energy crisis – Daily Express Editorial
  • "New estimates of Britain’s shale gas reserves beat even the most optimistic forecasts. The country needs companies to start drilling now." – Times Editorial (£)
  • All hail shale – Sun Editorial

…As it is claimed that only four households have signed up to the Government's Green Deal

"It also emerged yesterday that only four households had signed up to the Government’s flagship Green Deal energy efficiency programme, which was launched in January. Billed by ministers as the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War, it aims to help 14 million homes by 2020. And in another expense for the consumer, Mr Alexander guaranteed companies a return on their investment in a range of wind, wave and solar energies." – The Times (£)

Conservative Hero Danny Alexander announces £100 billion infrastructure plan

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.25.33"Mr Alexander unveiled the most ambitious rail revamp since “the Victorian era”. He said £16 BILLION will be spent on the controversial HS2 high-speed rail line from London to the North between 2015 and 2020. The Government is supporting more than £30 BILLION of rail investment, including electrifying 850 miles of track. Housing will get a boost with £3BILLION to build 165,000 affordable homes. And £21BILLION has been set aside for schools. Flood defences will be shored up with £370 MILLION. There are also proposals for Britain’s biggest prison in North Wales costing £100 MILLION, a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and more offshore windfarms." – The Sun

Sales of assets will help fund this capital spending…

"To help fund the plans, the Government is to sell off £15billion in public assets by 2020, including the student loan book and £5billion of property and land.  The Coalition is trying to divert cash away from day-to-day spending by Whitehall departments – which will endure another £11.5billion in cuts under plans set out on Wednesday – into capital spending, which creates jobs." – Daily Mail

…But taxes may rise by up to £10 billion

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.27.17"The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that the Government may
have to raise £10 billion from tax increases as deep spending cuts are
increasingly difficult to find. George Osborne, the Chancellor, last
week set out a new round of spending cuts for the 2015-16 financial year
but has admitted that further austerity measures will be required until
at least 2018…Paul Johnson, the director of the IFS, said that making
the savings solely through spending cuts would prove “very tough” and
Britain now needs to have a “serious debate” about whether taxes should
be raised instead." – Daily Telegraph

Grayling super-prison planned for North Wales

"Justice Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the £250million jail will be built in North Wales, near Wrexham, and expects it to be opened in 2017. Officials estimate the new jail, the first in North Wales, will save taxpayers £20million a year in lower running costs than traditional Victorian jails. But anti-prison groups called the new jail a ‘warehouse’, and called for the money to be spent on parenting programmes and treating drug addiction." – Daily Mail

Bright Blue attacks benefits decision

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.31.49"Ryan Shorthouse, Bright Blue director, said: “The continuous clampdown on benefits by the Conservatives could eventually backfire. There may come a tipping point when voters become suspicious of why the Tories keep targeting unemployment support, especially when bigger savings can be found from ending unnecessary benefits to wealthier pensioners such as free TV licences and winter fuel payments.” – The Independent

How Osborne and Alexander planned the spending review…with a bit of help from a lady called  Sharon White

"Judged purely as a piece of political management, Osborne deserves plaudits, as does his deputy, Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury.But credit will also go to a less well-known figure – potentially the most powerful black woman in public life, Sharon White, the Treasury's director general of public spending. Ministers who have dealt with White praise her as a tough but impressive negotiator, on top of the numbers and Treasury thinking." – The Guardian

It's official: There was no double-dip recession

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.33.15
"The Office for National Statistics has reworked its quarterly growth figures for the beginning of last year to show a flat performance instead of previous estimates of a 0.1% decline. Without a fall in GDP in the first three months of 2012, Britain did not suffer two consecutive quarters of negative growth that would have resulted in its second recession in three years – otherwise known as a double-dip." – The Guardian

Fraser Nelson: Osborne is afraid of his own success

Nelson Fraser Twitter Pic"Labour is having to abandon its claim that the cuts have been too deep and harsh – and it does not have an alternative. Mr Osborne, on the other hand, has plenty of alternatives, mainly extensions to what he has started. For example, lowering the top rate of income tax to 40p, from 45p, would probably bring in far more money….But for reasons that owe more to psychology than psephology, these measures are unlikely to materialise. Mr Osborne appears to consider himself a prisoner of public opinion, living in fear of caustic poll results. It sometimes looks as if he is afraid of his own success. He is winning this debate, but that will make little difference if he acts as if he’s losing it." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – George Osborne, the best political strategist we've got. (Indeed, the only one we've got.)

Work Programme results improve. But most targets still missed.

"Several companies running the government’s £5bn programme to get
unemployed people back into work are performing so far below
expectations that they are likely to lose their contracts, ministers
have confirmed. Whitehall figures published on Thursday show companies
are better at finding jobs for people than they were last year, but most
targets are still not being hit and several providers have been put on
watch for having their contract terminated." – Financial Times

Nadhim Zahawi MP calls for an amnesty for 500,000 illegal immigrants

Zahawi Nadhim"Illegal immigrants should be given a one-off amnesty allowing them to remain in Britain, in a “seismic” policy shift designed to improve relations between the Conservatives and ethnic minorities, a prominent Tory MP has said. Nadhim Zahawi’s provocative call will put him at odds with the party’s leadership, which strongly opposes the move, although it has been advocated by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Opponents argue that offering an amnesty would make Britain a magnet for immigrants." – The Independent

Zahawi article in full

  • U.S senate passes immigration reform bill – BBC

"The values that united the Republicans now threaten to confine them to minority status"

"Polls
have repeatedly found that a majority of the American public – about 55
per cent – now thinks same-sex couples should be free to marry. For
people under the age of 30 the figure is about 80 per cent. When it
carried out its “autopsy” after last year’s stinging presidential
election defeat, the Republican National Committee noted that “for many
younger voters, these issues [like same-sex marriage] are a gateway into
whether the party is a place they want to be”…So it was noteworthy that
John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, was so tempered in
his reaction to the gay marriage decisions this week." – Anna Fifield,
Financial Times

Hammond: the LibDems are unsound on defence

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 08.40.16
"He claimed that the Liberal Democrats were “naïve” or “reckless” by suggesting
that Britain should downgrade the Trident nuclear deterrent. In an interview
with The House Magazine, Mr Hammond also played down speculation that he
wants to become the next Conservative leader, suggesting that he will be a
“bit long in the tooth for that kind of thing.” – Daily Telegraph

Hammond House Magazine interview in full

Rebel Tories plot against HS2

"Rebel MPs – including many whose constituencies are not anywhere near the proposed line – will now attempt to vote down or at least amend the legislation. A paving Bill, which will give the green light for spending on the project, will go through Parliament first. Opponents hope to have more chance of influencing a subsequent  hybrid Bill, which ministers have promised to bring before Parliament by the end of the year." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Ashcroft poll says Boris is more popular than Cameron but less rated as a leader

Screen shot 2013-06-28 at 05.08.30"David Cameron is regarded as a more capable prime minister than Boris Johnson would be, even though the mayor of London is regarded as the most popular politician in the country, according a new poll from Lord Ashcroft. Remarkably, Johnson is behind both Ed Miliband and David Cameron as the best potential prime minister, suggesting he has a long way to go to persuade voters that he is a serious figure equipped to run the country." – The Guardian

> Today:

Too far, too fast: Balls clocks up third speeding offence in three years

"The
Shadow Chancellor copped the £350 penalty and three points on his
licence after being caught by a traffic camera near the Houses of
Parliament. It is the 46-year-old MP’s third motoring conviction in less
than three years. He was done for speeding in 2010 and again two months
ago on the M62. In an irony his Westminster enemies will delight in,
the Labour bruiser’s catchphrase is to accuse the Government of going
“too far, too fast” on reducing the deficit." – The Sun

News in Brief

  • Queen gets £2 million more from Government, but royal family still costs you only 53p a year – Daily Express
  • Nadine Dorries to stop claiming expenses – The Independent
  • NHS to publish death rates of doctors for the first time - Daily Mail
  • Britain faces new clawback threat for EU rebate – Daily Telegraph
  • Church joins bidders for RBS branches – The Times (£)
  • UK government backs IVF technique that uses DNA from three people – The Guardian
  • Obama's homage to Mandela on Africa tour – Sky News

And finally…Pickles takes revenge on Osborne with salad picture

"The tubby Communities Secretary had been dubbed the “model of lean government” as the Chancellor unveiled his latest round of spending cuts earlier this week. So a day after Mr Osborne tried to promote his man of the people image by posing with a pricey £9.75 take-away and posting the pic on Twitter, Mr Pickles sat down at his own desk to graze on a healthy pot of leaves and carrot sticks…He even pinched his caption, “putting final touches to a big speech”. Mr Osborne tweeted his fellow Tory: “Nice one, Eric”. – The Sun

> Today: MPsETC – Pickles bites back

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