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Hunt says patients to be able to choose their GP from next October…

Mailgp“Patients will be able to register at any doctor’s surgery they like from next October. Traditional catchment areas will be abandoned, allowing people to sign up with a GP near work or their children’s school. Patients will also have the option of switching to popular surgeries, which will have Ofsted-style ratings under Jeremy Hunt’s reforms.” – Daily Mail

  • “Despite mild weather, little flu and lower than usual numbers of patients arriving at Accident & Emergency (A&E) units, thousands of patients, including those requiring urgent surgery, have had operations cancelled since last week. Senior doctors said they fear that hospitals will be unable to cope when the weather turns, with arctic winds and freezing temperatures forecast from next week.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “To listen yesterday to Andy Burnham, Labour’s health spokesman, defending the GP contract signed by the last government was to have one’s credulity stretched to breaking point. Mr Burnham rejected the accusation levelled by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, that “Labour did terrible damage to out-of-hours care”. This cannot be so, said Mr Burnham, because the British Medical Association said the 2004 contract was a good deal. Indeed it was – for its members.” Leader Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Hunt makes the political weather – but the real weather is a threat to him

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Did Labour’s 2004 GP contract drive the rise in NHS attendances

…and that NHS staff who neglect patients will be sent to prison

“Doctors, nurses and NHS managers will face up to five years in jail if they are found to have wilfully neglected or mistreated patients under a new law aimed at stopping a repeat of the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal. The threat of criminal sanctions for NHS staff will be announced next week by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, following a series of reviews into patient safety.” – The Guardian

Cameron warns action on climate change is like house insurance…

timesclimate“Britain should keep cutting carbon emissions even if there is only a 60 per cent chance they are causing climate change, David Cameron said yesterday. In a swipe at sceptics, the Prime Minister compared action to prevent global warming to house insurance, saying that it was the right thing to do “even if you are less certain than the scientists”.” – The Times (£)

  • “Japan last night became the first major economy to abandon the greenhouse-gas promises made in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In a setback for the UN talks on climate change this week in Warsaw, Tokyo announced it will let emissions rise 3 per cent above 1990 levels by 2020. Tokyo’s announcement came as David Cameron said there was growing evidence that climate change caused extreme weather such as the Philippines typhoon. ” – Daily Mail
  • “WHY does the PM treat anyone who questions global warming as if they had claimed to have seen Elvis in Tesco? The scientific community is NOT unanimous in its support of the climate change doomsayers.” – The Sun Says (£)

…and holds “robust” talks with Sir Lankan president on human rights

“David Cameron has clashed with the president of Sri Lanka as he pushed for action to protect the rights of its minority Tamil community. Downing Street said the PM “pressed his points very directly and robustly” in an hour-long meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa at a Commonwealth summit.” – BBC

  • “David Cameron was hailed as a living god yesterday as  he was mobbed by mothers  of the disappeared in Sri  Lanka’s killing fields. Families of hundreds of Tamil men and boys seized by the regime descended on the Prime Minister as he became the first world leader to visit the war-ravaged north of the country since Sri Lanka won independence in 1948.” – Daily Mail

Gove attacks “lucky” Cowell

GOVE finger pointing“Michael Gove has condemned Simon Cowell after the media mogul was quoted saying the secret to success was to be useless at school then “get lucky”.” – BBC

  • “Mr Gove said: ‘The truth is, only a tiny fraction of people get lucky. For everybody else, it’s all about hard work and that starts with hard work at school. ‘Celebrities like Mr Cowell should encourage education, not rubbish it.’ ” – Daily Mail

Households with internet to be offered block no porn

“All 20 million families with internet connections are to be forced within months to say whether they want access to online pornography. Hundreds of thousands are already signing up to have it blocked. A scheme to combat the tide of web sleaze that is corroding childhood has been dramatically accelerated, David Cameron told the Daily Mail last night.” – Daily Mail

Hague backs Major on social mobility

HAGUE William looking right“Social mobility in Britain has reversed at a “disturbing” rate over the last thirty years William Hague has said. The Foreign Secretary said it is “harder” today than when he left his comprehensive school in South Yorkshire three decades ago for a state educated child to make it into the Cabinet.” – Daily Telegraph

Cameron hits back at Russell Brand

“DAVID Cameron has hit back at Russell Brand — with a dig over his new celebrity girlfriend Jemima Khan. The PM, called a “filthy, dirty posh w****r” by Brand, said he was GLAD the comic never votes — because he would never back the Tories anyway. And he pointed out that Russell would live in his Oxfordshire seat if he ever moved in with heiress Jemima, 38.” – The Sun (£)

Tory moderates need to organise and fight back against the right says Parris

PARRIS Mathhew“Gay men in search of companionship (I’m told) can utilise a smartphone app called Grindr , which will locate all other self-identifying gays in reasonable proximity. Conservative moderates, who tend to pipe down when the Right starts to bray, need an equivalent device. We might be astonished just how many of us there are. Our problem is that we are not driven by an evangelising creed. For us there are no pillars of fire by night and cloud by day — Europe, immigration: unifying rages — to guide us.” – Matthew Parris The Times (£)

Cheryl Gillan criticised for tax advice on expenses

“AN ex-Tory Cabinet Minister claimed more than £1,000 from the taxpayer for advice — on how to pay less tax. Cheryl Gillan got it back on official expenses under the heading “self-employed advice”.” – The Sun (£)

Councils to have sweeping new powers on anti social behaviour

“Peaceful protests could be outlawed on the sole grounds that they might annoy nearby residents under contentious new powers being granted to councils, campaign groups warn. The “shockingly open-ended” orders could also be used to ban youngsters from skateboarding, forbid teenagers from using local parks and prevent demonstrators from gathering outside council offices, it has been claimed.” – The Independent

Patrick O’Flynn says Government should confront EU over immigration…

“The Prime Minister will either listen to the Daily Express, change his mind and choose to defy the EU by keeping controls in place or he will usher in a new era of free movement for Romanians and Bulgarians. This is not an issue that can be fudged….extending immigration controls Britain would be pronounced in breach of EU law and the European Commission would take us to the European Court. The court would almost certainly rule against us in due course putting in jeopardy our very membership of the EU.” – Daily Express

…as Alan Johnson joins Labour’s immigration apology chorus

“Alan Johnson yesterday became the third former Labour Home Secretary this week to admit their party’s open door immigration policy had been wrong. Mr Johnson, who presided over the Home Office under Gordon Brown, suggested Labour had encouraged immigration while in power to boost the economy, but he conceded they had ‘got the sums wrong’.” – Daily Mail

Livingstone attacks Labour’s “cowardice” for borrowing too much

“Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has accused the Labour party of “cowardice” for building up billions in debts rather than taking difficult decisions on tax cuts and spending. In a speech to a campaigning group on Saturday Mr Livingstone accused Gordon Brown of borrowing too much in the boom years.” – Daily Telegraph

Tim Farron’s ambition for Lib Dem leadership

“Any hope Tim Farron may once have entertained that Nick Clegg might invite him to take up ministerial office has long disappeared. However, the current opinion polls suggest that unless the public mood shifts, in 2015 there will either be a Labour government or a Labour led coalition. That result would almost certainly cause Nick Clegg to resign, triggering a leadership election, in which the party President is likely to be the favourite candidate of party activists who never liked being hitched to the Tories.” -Andy McSmith The Independent

  • “The glue that held the Coalition together is starting to come unstuck. Until now, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have remained remarkably united on  the Government’s core mission to cut the deficit.” Andrew Grice The Independent

News in Brief

  • Cod stocks recover – The Times (£)
  • House prices “set to soar 24 per cent in five years” – Daily Express
  • China relaxes one-child policy – The Times (£)
  • Labour MP Joan Walley to stand down – BBC
  • UK provides extra £30 million in aid to Philippines – BBC

And finally…Churchill’s gifts go on display

“A startling selection of gifts to Sir Winston Churchill including warmly personal ones from President Franklin D Roosevelt and embarrassingly lavish ones from Josef Stalin, is going on display at his beloved home, Chartwell in Kent….The slightly grubby toy panda was an invaluable companion in Churchill’s study, filling the gap in the shelves every time he took a book down so that he knew where to replace it.” – The Guardian

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