Published:

10.45pm ToryDiary: MPs who signed up for Fiji group named – also three peers in "cash for access" sting

10.30pm ToryDiary: UKIP up on 21% in Observer/Opinium poll

3.15pm MPsETC: It's time for privatisation of the "All Party Parliamentary groups"

1.30pm Paul Goodman on ToryDiary: Patrick Mercer, Jews – and battle at Anzio

10.45am WATCH: Patrick Mercer MP: "I do not charge a great deal of money"

ToryDiary: "We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall". Three years later, where is it?

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Louise Mensch writes a Culture Column Special: I’m a Conservative who loves heavy metal – here’s why

J.Meirion Thomas on Comment: The cost of health tourism – is it millions…or billions?


TelegraphmpPatrick Mercer resigns whip after "cash for questions" scandal…

"An undercover investigation conducted by The Telegraph and the BBC’s Panorama programme discloses that Patrick Mercer, a former shadow minister, tabled five questions to government ministers and put down a parliamentary motion after being paid £4,000 as part of a contract he
believed would earn him £24,000 a year. The parliamentary questions were all drafted by undercover reporters purporting to be lobbyists for businesses with interests in Fiji. The Conservative MP also established an all-party parliamentary group in support of the cause being promoted by the lobbyists, which he boasted he had persuaded around 20 other politicians to back publicly." – Daily Telegraph

  • "Downing Street will hope to avoid a by-election in Mr Mercer’s constituency of Newark, Notts, where Ukip could pose a threat despite his 6,000 majority. But pressure on the former Army officer to step down immediately could grow as details of the allegations emerge." Daily Express
  • Guardiansleeze"The Conservative party was left reeling by sleaze allegations after an MP resigned from the parliamentary party for allegedly failing to declare thousands of pounds paid by a fake lobbying firm in a damaging journalistic sting. Patrick Mercer, MP for Newark, stepped down from the party's whip after accepting £4,000 from undercover reporters posing as lobbyists. He failed to declare £2,000 of the money within parliamentary rules, it is understood." – The Guardian
  • "Bobbing between the moats and the duck islands of the 2009 expenses crisis were a few wiser heads, who grasped that the real threat to democracy was less the taxpayer footing silly symbols of opulence, rather than the mixing of money and influence. Foremost among them was David Cameron." – editorial comment The Guardian
  • "MP Patrick Mercer agreed to offer a Commons security pass to a fake firm that paid him £4,000 to table parliamentary questions, the Daily
    Telegraph has alleged. The claim emerged after he resigned the Tory whip over BBC Panorama allegations that he broke Commons lobbying rules." – BBC
  • I still want lobby register says Clegg – BBC


Zacg..prompting demands to give voters power of recall…

"Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP, said that the case highlighted the need for constituents to be given powers to force a by-election. He tweeted: “If it’s bad enough for you to resign from your party, how can it be OK to continue representing constituents at all? Where’s that Recall?!” – The Times (£)

  •  "Tory MPs and campaigners said the powers – promised in the Coalition Agreement – are needed to oust those guilty of wrongdoing. .. Tory MP Douglas Carswell, an advocate of recall votes, said that Mr Cameron’s Policy Unit ‘needs to come up with proposals fast’. In February 2010, Mr Cameron called lobbying ‘the next big scandal waiting to happen’. But Coalition pledges to set up a register of lobbyists have so far come to naught." – Daily Mail

..but not all MPs are scum says James Kirkup…

"Only when voters know that their representatives are properly scrutinised can they believe that those representatives are worthy of the responsibilities they’ve been lent. And proper scrutiny will always leave casualties. Not all MPs are scum. Many MPs work hard for their constituents, doing their job to the best of their ability and sometimes even do some good. So, much as it saddens me say so, here’s the worst thing Mr Mercer has done: he’s given voters another reason to write off all MPs as being as weak and greedy as him." – James Kirkup Daily Telegraph

..while Iain Martin says Cameron will welcome Mercer's downfall

"Cameron will be immensely cheered by this news. Right now he will be removing the foil from a magnum of cava, asking Sam Cam to fetch some glasses and partying like it's 1995 at Manumission with Paul Oakenfold "taking the decks"." – Iain Martin Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – "We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall". Three years later, where is it?

>Yesterday:


FarageFarage says let me join TV debate of I'll sue…

"Ukip is prepared to take legal action if any attempt is made to exclude the party from television debates ahead of the next general election, Nigel Farage has warned…He also revealed that he had been approached by a major TV company, understood to be Sky News, to appear in a mooted leaders’ debate ahead of the European elections next May." – The Independent

…although will leave the next PPB to Paul Nuttall…

"Nigel Farage will not appear in a UKIP political broadcast for the first time as the party seeks to prove that it is not a “one-man band” before next year’s European elections. A five-minute broadcast on The Political Slot on Channel 4 on Sunday will instead be fronted by Paul Nuttall MEP, the party’s deputy leader. Mr Nuttall will use the opportunity to reach out to working-class “old Labour” voters who feel disaffected by the party’s metropolitan leadership." – The Times (£)


Archer…while Graeme Archer says forget UKIP, the Tories should woo dreadlocked Eurosceptics

"The Ukip proposition – that an authentic Conservative looks like Nigel Farage, and hates David Cameron enough to let Ed Miliband be PM – is toxic for precisely this reason: act as Ukip acts, and we’d never win those dreadlocked votes, no matter how many align with our Euroscepticism. The best reason for Tories to visit Brighton? The sea, the sea: it makes you open your arms, and face outward; a practice that translates into politics. The quickest route to Conservative oblivion: to stand, muttering, in a closed circle. Staring at our toes." – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Alexander says EU referendum a "huge distraction"

"Danny Alexander, the most senior Liberal Democrat in the Treasury, suggested the Conservatives are "irresponsible" for allowing the party to be gripped by arguments about whether to leave the EU…."It's not only irresponsible it is completely wrong to be saying actually of all times now is the time to be contemplating leaving Europe when we've got this wonderful opportunity to lead in Europe," he said. "Arguments about calling a referendum on British withdrawal, sort of apropos of nothing, are a huge distraction." – Daily Telegraph


GoveGrammar schools expanding

"One in 20 pupils is now being taught in a grammar school, as England witnesses the quiet return of state-funded selection. The proportion of secondary school pupils in grammars is at its highest level since 1978 – and almost double the historic low of 1986. Now for the first time in 35 years, some 5 per cent of children are being taught selectively." – Daily Mail

Hit squads to target long term unemployed

"Specialists will be sent to Jobcentres nationwide to urge tens of thousands of the workshy to get jobs, many for the first time. The unprecedented move will target the first people to come through the Government’s Work Programme, which was set up to help some of the most unemployable to find jobs. Anyone who has been unemployed for more than a year has to sign up to the two-year programme, which started in 2011, and uses experts from the private and voluntary sectors to help with job searches. From Monday, those on the programme who still do not have a job will be given one final chance to demonstrate they are fit for the workplace. If they refuse to cooperate they will lose their benefits." – Daily Express

  • "Instead of briefing lawyers to defend our welfare policies in the European Court, the Government should adopt a stance of outright defiance to stop the Commission forcing us to pay benefits to individuals who have not earned entitlement to them." – David Green The Times (£)


BadgerNo alternative to badger cull says chief scientist

"Britain’s chief scientist has launched a thinly veiled attack on opponents of the Government’s highly controversial badger cull – saying they have failed to come up with any effective alternatives." – The Independent

Muslims in prison up 200%

"Three times as many Muslims are in prison than 15 years ago — sparking fears that jails could become a hotbed of radicalisation. The number rocketed from 3,700 in 1997 to 11,250 last summer. The rate of increase is EIGHT times faster than that of the overall prison population. It means 13 per cent of lags in our jails are now Muslim, compared to just six per cent in 1997." – The Sun


EdmilThe forces tugging Miliband too the Left

"Three weeks from now, the delegates of the People’s Assembly will gather at Westminster Hall in Central London for the first official gathering of the radical clans. This meeting has been grandly trumpeted as a “coalition of resistance” and it will certainly be a substantial show of force for those on the left campaigning for an alternative economic strategy. It will also throw down the gauntlet to Mr Miliband, who will need to decide whether it is he or the the anti-austerity movement that is leading the Left’s response to the crisis." – Martin Bright The Times (£)

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: There’s as much gelignite as gelatine in Michael Gove’s article about Ed Miliband


RedwoodI back Germany says Redwood

"The EU will be a better place if more negotiators relax about Germany and just regard her as one country amongst many. I am on Germany’s side when they say they should not be paying more of the EU bills. The quid pro quo for that, is Germany should not have a disproportionate say in how the EU evolves." – John Redwood's Diary


What will the next coronation be like? Asks Charles Moore

"The key spiritual mover in this matter is the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the key temporal one is the Duke of Norfolk, the hereditary Earl Marshal. Yet neither has, in fact, moved. If the Queen died tomorrow, there would be no plan for the coronation of her successor." – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

  •  "At Lee Rigby’s Woolwich barracks, a few hundred yards from the spot where he was run down and then butchered, the Queen paid him her respects. She was “privately acknowledging the events of last week”, her spokeswoman said. The Queen understands the significance of this new level of atrocity even if some of our politicians apparently do not. Yet again she captures the feelings of her people. Yet again she earns our admiration." – The Sun Says


Maria_miller_mpThe Cuture Secretary Maria Miller is boring complains Quentin Letts

"Culture is the department where a country can assert its character. If only its Secretary of State had one. But what opacity, what blandness we have from Mrs Miller. What a milky-blancmange zone of nothingness her department has been under her so-called leadership. Recently, when Britain has been transfixed by the Woolwich killing, there has been urgent debate about internet websites promoting jihad. Media minister Miller could and should have been to the fore in that debate but she has been almost entirely absent from the fray." Quentin Letts Daily Mail

News in brief

  • "Taxpayer’ money funded a team of lawyers fighting European Court of Human Rights cases on behalf of foreign criminals and illegal immigrants. The human rights quango the Equality and Human Rights Commission quietly gave nearly £200,000 to a pressure group so it could take controversial human rights cases to the court in Strasbourg." – Daily Mail
  • Labour to set out public spending approach – The Guardian
  • Abu Hamza's wife to stay in £1 million council house – Daily Mail
  • Briton dies fighting with Syrian rebels- Daily Express
  • Eurozone unemployment hits 12.2% – Daily Mail
  • FTSE hit record – Daily Telegraph
  • More mortggages approved – BBC
  • Allotments under threat – The Guardian
  • Further accusation against Nigel Evans – The Guardian

And finally…

Photographs have emerged of Boris Johnson at Eton. Boris and "another boy hit each other over the head as they balance on a plank for an impromptu pillow fight. The photographs were taken by local newspaper photographer Ian Sumner in 1979 – but lay untouched for 34 years in a box." – Daily Mail

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