Published:

5.30pm WATCH: Chris Bryant explains his about-turn on Tesco and Next

4.45pm MPsETC: David McLetchie CBE MSP, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has died

3pm Benedict Rogers on Comment: I say to my Aussie friends: "Rudd says he wants a 'Fair Go' – I'd say: Just Go."

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 14.56.0112.30pm LeftWatch: Chris Bryant's immigration speech isn't just a car crash, it's a full on, bollard-smashing rampage

11am Robert Halfon MP on Comment: "Tesco’s motto was ‘pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’. Watching the Tesco
saga unfold in Harlow, I sometimes think it is now ‘pile the money high,
sell the workers cheap’."
Yes, Labour messed up migration. But there's nothing unConservative in criticising Tesco.

ToryDiary: "The ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP in no fewer than 168 constituencies"

Columnist Priti Patel: If charity money was used to help fund Sir Stephen Bubb's birthday party, he should repay it

Rob Leitch on Comment: The inexorable rise of internet dependency

Local Government: Olympics give tourism to London a lasting boost

The Deep End: Is Stephen Fry right about Russia and the Winter Olympics?

Cameron says: Frack the South too…

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 05.19.52"Mr Cameron set out the economic benefits including cheaper energy bills for millions, tens of thousands of jobs and windfalls for communities which are sitting on vast reserves of shale gas. He also pledged that fracking would not damage Britain’s countryside and would only result in a “very minor change to the landscape”. The British Geological Survey said in June that there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas in northern England alone." – Daily Telegraph

Prime Ministers's article in full

  • Why Brits must go frack to the future – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Norway’s Prime Minister on election trail takes to driving voters in his own taxi – Daily Express

…As he asks Ministers: where on earth are the rest of you? (Bar Pickles)

"Downing Street has ordered its propaganda machine to help to fill the traditionally quiet month of August with positive stories about the coalition. All departments have been asked to come up with at least two to three stories a week while MPs are away. The idea, explains one official, is to produce a news story every day throughout the parliamentary recess — “or silly season” — so that the public does not think that the Government is slacking." – The Times (£)

  • Prince Charles has held 36 private summits with Cabinet ministers since the election – Daily Mail

Active Minister Award 1) Cable looks at slapping levy on late payers…

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.28.50"The business secretary has ordered his officials to look at whether Britain should introduce a fine for late payments as he prepares for an autumn offensive on the issue. The threat of government intervention comes after months of pressure by Whitehall to get businesses to sign up to the government’s voluntary prompt payment code. Michael Fallon, the business and enterprise minister, warned in January that he would “name and shame” big companies that resisted." – Financial Times (£)

  • Liberal Democrat peer Lord Stephens faces wind farm questions – Daily Telegraph

…While Nick de Bois and Priti Patel attack Huhne appointment

"Yesterday Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, said: ‘I am all for offenders getting a second chance, but this seems to be a second chance that is only available for the privileged offender and not the many. ‘I am surprised that, in such a sensitive policy area, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ratified the appointment of a recent secretary of state." – Daily Mail

Active Minister Award 2) Gauke trumpets tax crackdown, and…

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.32.38
"The Government is to name and shame companies promoting high-risk tax avoidance schemes under tough new rules. It also plans to crack down on individuals using the schemes if they are ruled illegal in court. Tax bosses will be able to publicly identify rogue accountants involved. Treasury minister David Gauke said: “We want to deter taxpayers from using these often unsuccessful schemes and ensure that they pay the tax that is due.”  – The Sun

…Oops! Active Shadow Minister Chris Bryant is embroiled in row with Tesco and Next…

"Labour has become embroiled in a row with the supermarket chain Tesco and clothing retailer Next over the recruitment of cheap eastern European workers at the expense of British staff. Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, said the party had received claims from employees that both firms were "unscrupulous employers" which had recently favoured foreign workers over Britons. But his words prompted both companies to accuse Labour of getting basic facts wrong." – The Guardian

…As Miliband's troubles continue. Another Labour MP joins the critics, and he is urged: Bring Back Mandelson

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.34.01"Former whip Graham Stringer has joined the voices from within the party arguing that it needs to set out its policies more effectively. Amid concerns over a lack of dynamism in the shadow cabinet, Miliband is set to reshuffle his frontbench in September before Labour's party conference. Echoing comments by fellow Labour backbencher George Mudie earlier this month, Stringer told BBC Radio 4's World at One he was not clear what the party's housing, welfare or education policies were." – The Guardian

  • Boss of Labour union review Lord Collins ‘compromised’ by second job – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – Like Foot, Kinnock, Hague and Howard, Miliband fails the Capable Leader test. Is he doomed too?

Downing Street plots Labour leader's defeat…

" 'Britain is booming – don’t let Labour ruin it', was the campaign phrase that did not pay: Mr Blair became prime minister with a landslide of 179 seats. But senior Tory strategists believe a similar message could yet do the trick for David Cameron in his attempts to return to 10 Downing Street in 2015. While the economy is still a long way from booming recent upbeat data suggest the tide is starting to turn." – Financial Times

…But not so fast! In 168 marginal seats, the ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP.  And the Conservatives won only 16 per cent of it in 2010

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 05.10.02"The study suggests that in 168 marginal seats, the ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP. The seats extend beyond inner-city areas to include places such as Southampton, Oxford, Sherwood, Ipswich and Northampton. The findings will be of particular concern to the Tories, who have acknowledged that they are struggling to capture the ethnic minority vote. The party secured only 16% of the minority vote at the last election, compared with 68% for Labour. Experts say the trend will continue and may change the dynamics of British politics." – The Guardian

  • Case Study: Ipswich, held by Ben Gummer MP – The Guardian

> Today: ToryDiary – "The ethnic minority vote is bigger than the majority of the sitting MP in no fewer than 168 constituencies"

Iain Duncan Smith: The days of benefits as a ticket to easy street are over

"The vast majority of people want to get on by working hard. If you hit hard times, the system will support you.  But for Ed Miliband and those eyeballing benefits as a one-way ticket to easy street, I have a wake-up call for you: those days are over. Universal credit has started and the benefits cap roll-out is in its final stages. Together they will build a welfare state we can all, once again, be proud of." – Daily Mail

  • Only one in eight households facing cuts will be able to find work claim – The Independent

The Centre for Policy Studies claims bias at the BBC

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.35.32"It said the BBC website tended to describe Left-wing think-tank reports as ‘independent’, while Right-wing research was given a ‘health warning’ to say it had an ideological position, the Centre for Policy Studies found. Oliver Latham, who wrote the Bias At The Beeb report, said: ‘Our results suggest the BBC exhibits a left-of-centre bias in both the amount of coverage it gives to different opinions and the way these voices are represented.’" – Daily Mail

Boris: Spain's hostilities over Gibraltar are driven by the failure of the Euro

"The euro is the crisis facing the Spanish government, not the right of the Gibraltarians to fish off their own Rock. The problem in Spain today isn’t the Treaty of Utrecht, it’s the Treaty of Maastricht, and it is a supreme irony that a process that was meant to bring harmony among European nations should actually be provoking this bizarre row between Britain and Spain. The real and long-term solution isn’t for some Anglo-Spanish condominium over Gibraltar; if anything, it is for Spain to bring back the peseta." – Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie rallies to the defence of aid

Montgomerie BW"Don’t go to bed tonight full of rage at that 20p going to “bongo bongo land” and the thought that, occasionally, some of it is wasted. Go to bed knowing that UK taxpayers’ aid provides a continuity of assistance that fluctuating private giving does not. That a belly has been filled with rice because of British aid. A child won’t be bitten by a mosquito because of a malaria net that you’ve provided. An Afghan girl will get an education. An Ethiopian farmer has a drought-resistant crop. A refugee from Syria has bread to eat. And sleep soundly." – The Times (£)

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin: It's a good day for cyclists

"The funding, which includes £94 million from the Department for
Transport, will be divided between eight cities and four national parks.
It will help to deliver a wide range of schemes across England,
including a new radial cycle network for Manchester, a 14-mile
segregated superhighway between Leeds and Bradford, and 71 miles of new
cycle routes in Birmingham." – The Times (£)

Minority Party News 1: Galloway in anti-Blair push

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.41.50"The Respect MP for Bradford West is appealing to the public to help finance the project through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. The film project is, Galloway hopes, the first step in a campaign to get Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister, tried for war crimes in an international court. The 58-year-old has acknowledged that the film's title was chosen for "shock value", but in response to claims it is in bad taste he said that Blair's was a "shocking story"." – The Independent

Minority Party News 2: Farage in anti-Osborne push

"The leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party said bringing in a marriage tax break would “allow people to make informed and compassionate lifestyle choices about how they bring up their children at home”. The news comes after George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was accused of “patronising” stay-at-home mothers after saying that they had made a “lifestyle choice” and should not receive childcare vouchers." – Daily Telegraph

No knockout blow in first Australian election TV debate as Rudd is accused of reading from notes

Screen shot 2013-08-12 at 08.43.14
"Despite both sides claiming victory, two straw polls on the television networks said Mr Rudd won, one said Mr Abbott won and twitter traffic heavily favoured Mr Rudd. Most analysts said the debate was a "dead heat" and it seems unlikely that either candidate struck a sufficiently decisive blow to dramatically alter the polls. Mr Rudd has given the Labor party a strong boost in the polls since he deposed Julia Gillard as leader in June but remains the underdog and trails the opposition by about 48 to 52 per cent in the latest surveys." – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Republican march ends peacefully after days of violence – Belfast Telegraph
  • The equipment that the West has sent to Syria's rebels – The Independent
  • Kashmir conflict ebbs as new wave of militant emerges – The Guardian
  • Police to be trained to be nice – The Sun
  • Big air alliances rule out move from Heathrow – Financial Times
  • Return rail fares may rise to pay for halving of singles – The Times (£)
  • GPs in a muddle over the heart drugs statins – Daily Express
  • Scotland could be in line for one of the best grouse shooting seasons in years, gamekeepers predict as Glorious Twelfth dawns – Scotsman
  • Spectacular meteor shower tonight could bring up to 60 shooting stars an hour – Daily Mail
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