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Cameron in PMQs 1) He reckons Mitchell deserves an apology

Andrew Mitchell talking to press“The row over the Plebgate affair has escalated after the Independent Police Complaints Commission indicated that three forces had watered down the conclusions of an investigation into a meeting between the Police Federation and Andrew Mitchell last year.” – The Guardian

“The Prime Minister told MPs yesterday that the conduct of the officers, who were representing the Police Federation, was ‘not acceptable’ and backed calls for Mr Shaw to apologise to Mr Mitchell.” – Daily Mail

  • “Many officers do a wonderful job. But I fear the police are in danger of losing the public’s trust” – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • “Cops getting away with being useless” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “The Andrew Mitchell case is not isolated, and there are grounds for a Royal Commission” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telelgraph
  • “The catalogue of police misdemeanours must lead to a change of attitude, not just a new ombudsman” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • “The behaviour of the police appears to have been so shocking that I would support Mitchell’s reinstatement to any post he wants…” – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • ” The Mitchell saga has dealt a potentially fatal blow to public trust in the police” – Independent editorial

> Yesterday:

Cameron in PMQs 2) And backs an inquiry into the Guardian leaks

Edward Snowden“The Prime Minister encouraged MPs on select committees to investigate whether the paper had broken the law or done harm to our security by printing information leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.” – Daily Mail

  • Although there will also be an inquiry into the reach of the intelligence services, as the Guardian reports: “Parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC), the body tasked with overseeing the work of GCHQ, MI5 and MI6, will say the investigation is a response to concern raised by the leaks from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.”

Cameron in PMQs 3) Is he planning to help those caught in the 40p tax rate?

“David Cameron yesterday signalled income tax cuts are being considered for the 5 million workers due to be paying the 40 per cent rate by 2015. … At Prime Minister’s Questions, Tory MP Dominic Raab welcomed the moves to help basic rate taxpayers, but urged Mr Cameron to act to help those on the higher rate. … Mr Cameron said: ‘Yes, I want to see taxes cut for all.’” – Daily Mail

He’s certainly planning to make more appointments to the Lords

“Government sources now say that the Prime Minister will unveil yet another list of appointments as part of a Coalition deal to drastically alter the make-up of the upper chamber. There are currently 216 Labour members, 208 Tories and 89 Lib Dems. … The Coalition parties say that when they came to power in 2010 the chamber was unfairly dominated by Labour peers.” – Daily Mail

Perhaps to avoid more Government defeats like yesterday’s, over the Care Bill

“Elderly people paying for their own care could be protected under the same human rights laws as those who receive State care, after a landmark vote in the House of Lords last night. … Under the current system, people whose care is funded by the State may sue care homes on human rights grounds if they are treated badly. … The amendment to the Care Bill was backed by a majority of 29 despite health minister Earl Howe arguing it was ‘neither necessary or appropriate’.” – Daily Mail

Eleanor Laing elected deputy Speaker

Eleanor Laing“Tory MP Eleanor Laing has been elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, beating six other candidates. … The Conservative MP for Epping Forest, the favourite for the role, saw off Conservative Brian Binley by 257 votes to 240.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Another deal comes out of Osborne’s visit to China – but are there security implications?

“George Osborne yesterday welcomed investment in the UK by a controversial Chinese internet giant, despite warnings it could be spying on the West. … Welcoming plans by the firm to build a £125 million research and development centre in Britain, Mr Osborne said: ‘There are some Western governments that have blocked Huawei from making investments. Not Britain. Quite the opposite.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Sadly, coalition realities restrict the scope for seizing China as ‘the great opportunity’ Mr Osborne proclaims” – Guardian editorial

And another: this one for nuclear energy

Chinese flag“George Osborne will hail a new dawn for Britain’s civil nuclear programme on Thursday as the chancellor announces a deal between Chinese investors and EDF Energy to build the first nuclear power station in the UK in a generation. … The Chinese General Nuclear Power Group and the French energy company are expected to sign a letter of intent as the two sides finally agree a deal for a planned new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.” – Financial Times

  • UK faces increased risk of blackouts, report warns – The Guardian

As the Chancellor says that China’s communists are “more market-orientated” than Labour

“In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme, broadcast last night, Mr Osborne said China’s leaders were ‘a lot more market orientated this lot than the British Labour Party are at the moment’.” – The Daily Telegraph

The newspapers report ConservativeHome’s interview with Boles, and his remarks on press regulation

“Nick Boles suggested newspapers should refuse to co-operate with a new Royal Charter enshrining a newspaper watchdog. They should also mount a legal challenge to the way the Government has handled the issue. … The minister’s remarks, in an interview with the ConservativeHome website, cast serious doubt on the future of the cross-party plan and suggest it does not command support at the top of government.” – Daily Mail

  • “… free-thinking politicians and the public are waking up to the deeply chilling implications of the three main parties’ efforts to impose statutory controls on the Press.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “A minister has commendably condemned statutory regulation of newspapers” – Times editorial (£)
  • The “polite protests” from Buckingham Palace over Leveson – Charles Moore, The Spectator

McVey hails the latest jobs figures

“Britain has a record workforce of nearly 30million, the largest number since records began in 1971, the Office for National Statistics revealed yesterday. … [Esther McVey] told BBC News: ‘I think this is very positive news, because that’s more than a million people who have got jobs since the general election.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: New employment statistics start to show slight improvements for the young and the long-term unemployed

The Supreme Court declines to fully back the Government on prisoner voting

Prisoner voting“The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by two murderers who claimed it was a breach of both the Human Rights Act and EU law to ban them from voting. … But, in a significant blow to David Cameron, the judges failed to rule that the UK’s existing blanket ban on prisoners taking part in elections is lawful.” – Daily Mail

  • “Even when we win we still lose: MPs should refuse to be browbeaten into giving prisoners the vote” – Dominic Raab, Daily Mail
  • “Prisoners must never get the vote” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The Prime Minister is right. Prisoners should not be permitted the vote” – Times editorial (£)

As Grayling opposes an EU-wide justice system

“Brussels bureaucrats are taking steps towards setting up a European justice system that must be ‘resisted at all costs’, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said yesterday. … It was the European Commission’s ‘clear objective’ to go down the road to create such a system, he said. ‘I don’t believe it is right and I don’t believe the people of this country want it.'” – The Times (£)

Maude plans to overhaul Whitehall’s security classifications

“The days when a Whitehall milk rota could be categorised as ‘restricted’ are to be banished in the first shake-up in official security classifications since the second world war. … Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister, on Wednesday said: ‘a tendency to overmark documents rather than to manage risk properly,’ had developed. ‘This can devalue the basic security principles.'” – Financial Times

Hammond’s outsourcing plans at risk

Philip Hammond looking left“Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, is negotiating with two consortiums to set up a privately run organisation in charge of the £15bn purchasing arm of the Ministry of Defence. But one of those groups may have to drop out amid criticism of one of its key members, Serco, which has been embroiled in controversy over other government outsourcing deals.” – Financial Times

  • “Controversial plans to restructure the Army are ‘failing’ because cuts to the defence budget are putting off potential new soldiers and making Britain a ‘hostile recruiting environment’, according to a leaked document.” – The Daily Telegraph

The working poor have borne the brunt of deficit reduction, claims the Government’s social mobility commission

“The working poor have borne the brunt of the coalition’s deficit reduction programme, with pensioners getting off lightest, according to the first annual reporton Thursday of the government’s social mobility commission chaired by Alan Milburn, a former Labour cabinet minister.” – The Guardian

“The Church of England is investigating the reasons for the dramatic spread of food banks, and will examine the impact of benefits cuts on their use.” – The Independent

Tim Montgomerie: “The Lib Dem mud is sticking to the Tories”

MONTGOMERIE purple background“From the moment that the Lib Dems joined the coalition they have ruthlessly pursued one big political mission. They have set out to undermine the central aim of David Cameron’s eight-year leadership of his party and his claim to have fashioned a kinder, gentler conservatism. And guess what? They’re succeeding.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • “What must Cameron give to Clegg for the Lib Dems to stay loyal?” – James Forsyth, The Spectator

> Today on ToryDiary: Eight years of decontamination have produced almost no serious change to the Tory brand

Cable could introduce a “code of conduct” for the use of zero-hours contracts

“Companies could face a code of conduct to prevent them exploiting workers through zero-hours contracts, Vince Cable has announced. … The Liberal Democrat business secretary said the government would intervene if it found the contracts were being abused by employers.” – Financial Times

Lamb pledges to end the NHS’s “institutional bias” against mental health

“Mental health services in England are in crisis following the loss of more than 1,700 beds, a top psychiatrist says. … Care Minister Norman Lamb said it was ‘unacceptable’. … He added: ‘There is an institutional bias in the NHS against mental health and I am determined to end this.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “The government is to announce a review into 15-minute care visits to vulnerable elderly and disabled people” – The Guardian
  • “More hospital mergers are in prospect following an announcement on Thursday that will reduce the chance of lengthy referrals to the Competition Commission and, say supporters, ensure better use of scarce NHS resources.” – Financial Times
  • NICE encourages doctors to be, well, nice to obese patients – Daily Mail

Labour plans a new tax on payday lenders

“A Labour government would impose a new tax on payday lenders to fund a multimillion-pound increase in public support for low-cost alternatives, such as credit unions, Ed Miliband announced … Details of the rates at which the levy would be imposed have not yet been announced, but Labour said it aimed to raise enough cash to double the £13m currently provided by the government each year to fund the expansion of credit unions.” – The Guardian

  • “Ed Miliband can still win the welfare debate” – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)
  • “Miliband has finally achieved total command – but will Blue Ed or Brown Ed take the spoils?” – Rafael Behr, New Statesman

Strike one! Royal Mail workers to stage walkout

On strike“Postmen were accused of ‘glaring hypocrisy’ yesterday after voting to go on strike following the privatisation of Royal Mail – just days after accepting nearly £500million of free shares. … The Communication Workers’ Union said its members will stage a one-day walkout on November 4 – and it could be the start of a rolling programme of strikes.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Communication Workers Union’s strike at the Royal Mail could undermine the company that its employees now partly own” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The Government has questions to answer over the Royal Mail offering” – Financial Times editorial

Strike two! This time its university workers

“Universities and higher education colleges across the UK will shut down at the end of this month after staff voted to strike over pay. … Workers ranging from lecturers and lab technicians to porters and cleaners are due to walk out over a ‘measly’ one per cent pay rise.” – Daily Mail

Strike three! Thousands of schools could shut today

“More than 10,000 schools could shut or send entire classes home after Britain’s two biggest teaching unions announced plans to walk out in protest over Coalition education reforms. … Members of the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT are taking part in industrial action in an attempt to block changes to pay, pensions and workload.” – Daily Telegraph

Roy Hodgson can teach our politicians so much, says Martin Kettle

“Hodgson’s virtues take several forms. Let’s start with the most obvious one. Hodgson is a grey-haired man of 66 who is at the top of his game. This makes him older than every cabinet minister bar Vince Cable and Kenneth Clarke (who both seem to be rather more popular than most of their colleagues, as it happens).” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Ofsted to condemn the Al-Madinah free school as “dysfunctional”

“An Ofsted report, due to be published imminently, declares that the Al-Madinah Islamic school in Derby is ‘in chaos’ and has ‘not been adequately monitored or supported’. … The report, which has been leaked to the Guardian, says teachers at the faith school are inexperienced and have not been provided with proper training.” – The Guardian

  • “Has any senior official ever highlighted this country’s terrifying social problems as vividly as Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools and social care, did on Tuesday?” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • “We need properly trained apprentices as well as graduates” – Peter Lampl, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: The Al Madinah school and the limits of localism

Prince Charles accuses pension funds of failing savers

Prince Charles“In a highly provocative step the Prince of Wales has accused the £2 trillion pensions industry of failing the interests of millions of savers. … The Prince claimed that the short-termism of City investors was increasingly unfit to provide for an ageing population.” – The Times (£)

Phew! The US Congress reaches a last-minute debt ceiling deal

“The US Congress has passed a bill to reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit, with hours to spare before the nation risked default. … The Democratic-controlled Senate’s bipartisan compromise won approval by 81 votes to 18. … The deal was then passed by 285-144 in the House of Representatives, whose Republican leadership begrudgingly agreed to support the measure.” – BBC

  • “America needs a more permanent solution to its budget deadlock” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • “Now the real talking must begin. Washington needs a grand bargain to break its cycle of self-inflicted fiscal crises” – Times editorial (£)

> Yesterday on International: Osborne will be glancing at America today, in fear at what could happen

News in brief

  • SNP conference urged not to ‘delude’ itself about independence referendum – The Daily Telegraph
  • New legal battle over gay adverts on London buses – The Daily Telegraph
  • Top graduates to get up to £25,000 to train as teachers – The Daily Telegraph
  • Caroline Lucas MP denies two public order offences following fracking protests – Daily Mail
  • The average salary of a public sector worker has fallen for the first time since records began in 2001 – Daily Mail
  • One-in-three over-50s say they have been discriminated against because of their age – Daily Mail
  • The five primary schools in England where not one pupil has English as a first language – Daily Mail
  • New survey suggests that there are 4,000 slaves in Britain – The Sun (£)
  • The EU has launched an investigation into probe into Gibraltar’s corporate tax system – Financial Times
  • Police watchdog to investigate claims officer “acted on behalf” of Jimmy Savile – The Guardian
  • CPS issues new guidelines on investigating child sex abuse cases – The Guardian
  • UK policy on Sri Lanka timid and inconsistent, say MPs – The Guardian

And finally 1)… Sally lets her hair down

Sally Bercow raising middle finger“Alas, it seems the lure of free champagne and a star-studded party proved too much for the irrepressible Mrs Bercow, wife of Commons Speaker John. … Several hours later, her decision to stay out ended up with her dancing in the street, clambering into a cab with her underwear on show and giggling as she gestured rudely with her middle finger.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… Shirley Williams’ university days

“Not only was Shirley catnip to men, but many predicted she was destined for greatness – possibly as Britain’s first female prime minister. Certainly few would have placed a bet on a quiet chemistry undergraduate called Margaret Thatcher, who’d graduated three years before, achieving this distinction.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… Hague and Clegg lose their birds

“Police are investigating after the roof of the birds’ enclosure at the Chevening Estate in Sundridge, Kent, was broken open this week. Only 20 of the 400 birds kept on the property remain. … The property is shared by the Deputy Prime Minister with the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, as their official weekend residence.” – Daily Mail

20 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 17th October 2013

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